New England Chiefs’ Convention
Conclusion of Proceedings, Demonstrations and Exhibits at
Following is the conclusion of the report of the eleventh annual convention, New England Association of Fire Chiefs, held at Lewiston, Me., June 20 to 22:
THE Wednesday sessions of the convention were held at the armory. The morning program opened with the reading of the annual report of Secretary-Treasurer John W. O’Hearn. The records showed that there are 715 members in the association at the present time. During the past year there were 13 deaths and 75 members were dropped for non-payment of dues. The number of new members elected was 57. The cash balance on hand amounts to $20,996.22, these figures being as of before the convention.
Chief Selden R. Allen, of Brookline, Mass., First VicePresident of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, told of plans for the Great Lakes Trip and International Convention to be held from August 21-27 on the steamer “Seeandbee” with a two days’ stop at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago.
Chief Allen introduced George Morley, who stated that under the National Industrial Recovery Act the way is paved for cities urgently in need of fire protection, especially new fire alarm systems, to obtain federal loans for such purposes.
Talk on Special Hazards
The first address on the program was by T. Z. Franklin, Manager of the Special Hazards Department, of the Automobile Insurance Company, of Hartford, Conn. There was to have been a paper by T. Alfred Fleming, of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, but illness prevented him from attending.
Mr. Franklin illustrated his talk by a series of highly spectacular demonstrations showing the force of a miniature dust explosion, using corn starch dust; the flash back of a stream of gasoline vapor, and a fire caused by a short circuited electrical device. He told of the hazards of flammable cleaning fluids and of Christmas tree decoration dangers. He then burned a celluloid doll to show the hazardous nature of some of the toys that are placed in the hands of children.
Mr. Franklin stated that spontaneous ignition is responsible for many mysterious fires. He explained oxidation causes heat to be generated faster than it can be carried off. He referred to two causes of these fires, one being bacterial action such as takes place in wet hay and the other being a chemical action between two substances.
The speaker demonstrated quick and delayed spontaneous ignition and closed his talk by showing how a careless watchman in a bleach mill might cause a fire by spitting tobacco juice on a floor saturated with bleach accidentally spilled.
The second paper was by James M. Hurley, State Fire Marshal of Massachusetts. This office was established in 1894. The State Fire Marshal is the executive head of the Fire Prevention Division.
Incendiary Fires and Arson Methods
The next paper was an address on “Incendiary Fires” by George O. Mansfield, Chief Fire Inspector, Department of Public Safety of Massachusetts.
Mr. Mansfield pointed out the importance of observation at fires and how clues might be obtained as to the identity of arson suspects. He mentioned the appearance of the smoke, the odors of various substances used to start fires, and showed how trailers are utilized to spread the flames from one room to another.
He said that during the past year seven men were burned to death while attempting to start incendiary fires in buildings in Massachusetts last year. He told of the town tax collector in Gloucester who hired a firebug to burn his house for insurance. He told of the methods used by the Marblehead Neck firebug who was found guilty and sentenced to 8 years for attempting to burn a summer residence. Mr. Mansfield told of the evils of over-insurance and described the several types of firebugs, the pyromaniac, the wayward youth, and the professional arsonists. He related exciting incidents in connection with the capture of men who had planned to set fire to a large summer hotel for the insurance.
At the close of the talk a large number of lantern slide views of photographs taken by state police were shown, the pictures clearly depicting the methods used by the incendiaries.
Wednesday Afternoon Session
The first business at the afternoon session on Wednesday was the report of the Auditing Committee which was made by Chief Oliver T. Sanborn, of Portland, Me., Past-President of the association and Chairman of the committee.
Secretary O’Hearn announced that there would be demonstrations at 4 p.m. by the Pyrene Manufacturing Company, the Stop Fire Company, Andrew J. Morse & Co., LuxEyre Freez Company, Arthur J. Blanchard Company and the forest fire truck from Richmond, Me.
The first speaker was William J. Carroll, of the Rockwood Sprinkler Company, of Worcester, Mass. He declared that the finest fire-fighting forces in existence are the municipal Fire Department and the automatic sprinkler. He then gave a detailed description of the new Sprink-Alarm, which is a system for connecting the sprinkler with the city fire alarm. He said that in 50,000 sprinkler fires over a period of 35 years 66 per cent of the fires were either extinguished or held in check by the sprinklers. Of this number 70 per cent were practically out and 27 per cent were under control when firemen reached the scene. The new system he described as faster and more efficient than the old systems and with less liability of sounding needless alarms because water surges and water hammer in the pipes cannot transmit an alarm.
Mr. Carroll described the dry pipe and wet pipe systems and pointed out that the Gamewell sprinkler watchman can be used with either system.
Advocates I. A. F. C. Fire Prevention Code
Chief Peter Steinkellner, of Milwaukee, Wis., was the next speaker. He advocated the adoption of a fire prevention code by the International Association of Fire Chiefs which could be universally used. He commended Massachusetts for its success in securing convictions in arson cases. He said that Chiefs and Fire Marshals should be free to act without fear of political interference. Over insurance, the Chief said, was the cause of more fires than anything else he knows of.
He advocated a change in the method of electing Directors of the International Association, saying that each sectional division should have a representative on the Board of Directors. He ended his remarks by saying that the New England Convention was the finest that he had ever attended.
Chief O’Hearn approved the suggestions of Chief Steinkellner and moved that the question of electing directors be brought up at the International Convention in August.
Chief William C. Mahoney, of Peabody, spoke regarding the tenure of office act for Chiefs.
Other subjects discussed briefly were fuel oil burner regulations and the hazard of gasoline tank trucks on the highways. Fire Marshal Hurley, of Massachusetts, said that new regulations to cover the situation were being drawn up.
Forest Fire Conference
The Forest Fire Conference was then held under direction of Chief Joseph W. Randlette, of Richmond, Me. The first speaker was Professor John M. Briscoe, of the University of Maine, who delivered an address on “Forest Fires and Education.” The professor said:
“The general public seems to fail to grasp the seriousness of the situation. In Pennsylvania the Forestry Department has an excellent slogan ‘Everybody loses when forests burn.’ A proper and sympathetic public sentiment is needed and this can be obtained by use of posters, newspaper publicity, letters to civic groups, warning signs in the woods, and souvenir blotters and ash trays calling attention to the havoc caused by woods fires.”
Prof. Briscoe described the special courses in forest fire protection given in the University of Maine, the general forestry course, and the courses leading to the Degree of Bachellor of Science in Forestry. He quoted figures from the Copeland report and showed the need for timber conservation.
The principal causes of woods fires in the east are carelessness and recklessness by human beings, while in the National Forests in the west lightning is the chief cause of fires.
Other causes of fires, the professor said, are recklessness in burning brush, camp fires neglected by picnic parties, railroads, and berry pickers.
He advocated a skilled and trained leadership and special courses of instruction for forest wardens.
Forest Fire-Fighting Equipment
John P. Crowe, Ex-Chief of Westboro, and Assistant State Fire Warden of Massachusetts, spoke on “Forest Fire-Fighting Equipment and Prevention of Woods Fires.” He stated that he was pleased to see the New England Association devoting a session to forest fire problems and hoped that the International Association would do likewise. He declared that automobile picnic parties caused many fires as the average city dweller is ignorant of the woods. He said airplanes were a new hazard and that five forest fires this year were caused by airplanes.
Chief Crowe brought greetings from Maxwell C. Hutchins, Massachusetts State Fire Warden, who was unable to be present. The use of back-fires was condemned by Chief Crowe except as a last resort. He told of the efficiency of motor pumps and urged all Fire Chiefs to also act as forest wardens.
Charles F. Young. District Forest Warden of New Hampshire. spoke on “Forest Fires in New Hampshire” and Austin H. Wilkins, of the Maine Forestry Service, told of “Forest Fires in Organized Townships.”
Because of duties in connection with the Civilian Conservation Corps, Neil Violette, Maine Forest Commissioner, was unable to address the convention.
The last speaker on the program for the day was A. A. Cushman, of Keene, N. H., who spoke on “Forest Fire Pumps.”
In the evening there was a 10-act vaudeville show in the armory under direction of Jack Kenney, Manager of the Auburn Theatre, assisted by “Sandy”’ Chapman. The show was followed by dancing.
Election of Officers
On Thursday morning the convention came to a close with the reading of reports and election of officers for the ensuing year.
Secretary O’Hearn read a letter from Alfred N. Miner, Chairman of the Massachusetts State Fire Prevention Committee, who was unable to be present in person.
Chief Selden R. Allen reported for the Committee on Courtesies and George W. Austin for the Committee on Registrations and Reservations. The total attendance at the convention was 429.
Fire Commissioner Joseph W. Scannell, of Lewiston, was elected an honorary life member of the association. Ex-Chief William C. Shepard, of Pittsfield. Mass.; and Chief Peter Steinkellner. of Milwaukee, Wis., were also made honorary life members.
It was voted to hold the 1934 convention in Burlington, Vt. The officers chosen were as follows: President, Chief Daniel B. Tierney, Arlington. Mass,; First Vice-President, Chief John S. Pachl, Annex F. D„ New Haven. Conn.; Second Vice-President, Chief David A. DeCourcy, Winchester, Mass.: Secretary-Treasurer, Chief John W. O’Hearn, Watertown, Mass.; Sergeant-At-Arms, Chief John J. Kennedy, Bryant Electric Company, Bridgeport. Conn.
On Wednesday afternoon, June 21, demonstrations were held on the street and in the vacant lot opposite the armory. The firms represented in these tests were the Arthur H. Blanchard Company, Andrew J. Morse & Son, Pyrene Manufacturing Company, Stop Fire Company, Lux-Fyre Freez Company, and Charles Niedner’s Sons Company. The new forest fire truck of the Richmond, Me., Fire Department was on exhibition and gave several demonstrations.
Pits were dug in the vacant lot and filled with gasoline to show how fires of this nature could be quickly extinguished Shallow pans of gasoline were also used in some of the tests. Before the gasoline was ignited a hose line was run from Engine 5, of the Lewiston Fire Department, under direction of Captain Zepherion Drouin and Lieutenant Charles Whitehouse. This piece of apparatus is a 400-gallon Maxim motor pumper and combination wagon. It was also used to furnish streams for a demonstration of the new Morse Invincible nozzles and portable deck guns.
Tests were held of Pyrene extinguishers, a new type of gas extinguisher, foam streams, and carbon dioxide extinguishers. The Neidner firm displayed a new type of knapsack canvas bag for carrying forestry hose. The Blanchard Company showed the powerful stream that may be obtained from a Morse nozzle with 1 1/2-inch tip. Water was supplied by two hose lines from Engine 5 which was connected to a hydrant at the corner. The Pacific Marine Company’s portable gasoline pump for forestry work was also demonstrated.
Fire Commissioner Joseph Scannell, Chief Reuben D. Estes, of Lewiston; Reserve Deputy Chief Edgar E. Ramsdell. Harry J. Lovell, and Harold W. DeVeer had general charge of the tests which were witnessed by a large crowd,
The state armory in Lewiston, with its wide and spacious floor, provided an ideal setting for the exhibition of fire department supplies, apparatus, and accessories. Although there were no hook and ladder trucks on display this year and only four motor pumping engines, the lack of large motor equipment was made up for by the varied collection of smaller and attractively arranged exhibits The meeting hall, where all the convention sessions, except the opening memorial exercises, took place, was situated in the armory. opening from a hall at the side of the main hall.
The Maxim Motor Company, of Middleboro, Mass., showed two handsome motor pumping engines, one of a capacity to pump 1,000 gallons of water per minute and one of 750 gallons per minute capacity. The exhibit was in charge of A. F. Alger, Sales Manager, and W. A. Shaw, Service Manager.
A Mack 750-gallon centrifugal motor combination pumping engine with 100 gallon booster pump and capacity for carrying 1,200 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose was shown by the Mack Motor Truck Company. E. C. Fenner, of New York City, was in charge.
A small motor pumper and hose combination mounted on a Ford chassis was shown by the Wade & Dunton Motors, of Lewiston. The pumper had a capacity of 300 gallons per minute and was in charge of Ralph Haskell.
The Game well Company, of Newton, Mass., was represented by Frank M. Tiffany and William Phillips. The display consisted of two of the latest type three-fold succession fire alarm boxes, which will sound an alarm even when a wire is broken. Punch recording registers and tapes were also shown.
The Gorham Fire Equipment Company, of Boston, Mass., had a fine display of fire fighting equipment including Atmos Inhalators, Wheat lights, Burrell All Service Gas Masks, automobile name plates, safety lamps, chimney tongs, and pump cans for use in fighting grass and woods fires. Joseph T. Gorham was in charge.
The American-LaFrance & Foamite Industries, Inc., had an extensive showing of fire equipment, hose, lights, and supplies including the new LaFrance Warner hose shut-off. The representatives at the convention were Leslie J. Creaser, New England District Manager of Fire Equipment Sales; James P. Winchell, Maine Representative; Stephen R. Jones, New Hampshire Representative; Harris Hunt, Connecticut Representative; Captain W. N. Crowell, and Joseph P. Webber, of Boston, New England District Manager of Motor Apparatus Sales. Foamite generators, LaFrance nozzles, Goodyear hose, Oxford metal polish, and LaFrance inhalators and gas masks were among the goods displayed in the LaF’rance booth.
The Arthur H. Blanchard Company, representing the New England Fire Hose Division of the Boston Woven Hose & Rubber Company, of Cambridge, showed fire hose, Pacific pumps for forestry and town protection, and a line of fire department supplies including the Eastman deluge gun, coupling, and foam charges. The booth was in charge of Arthur H. Blanchard, Edward L. Blanchard, and Linden Brule.
Andrew J. Morse & Son, of Boston, showed the Morse portable nozzles and play pipes, couplings, gates, rescue outfits, and diving equipment. C. E. Gorman and E. W. Sibley were in charge.
The American Fire Equipment Company displayed a complete line of fire department supplies including equipment for fighting forest fires. John J. Scully, of Boston, was in charge.
Harry J. Lovell, of 109 Brookline Avenue, Boston, had an exhibition of B. F. Goodrich fire hose, Goodrich tires, boots, rubber coats, and flash lights. In this booth there was an interesting display board showing crude rubber and different stages in the manufacture of fire hose.
The Homelite Corporation, of Portchester, N. Y., exhibited a 1,250-watt generator that weighed only 86 pounds, also 2-inch self priming pumps, and Crouse-Hinds searchlights. R M. Lawton, New England Factory Representative, was in charge.
The Amesbury Metal Products Company, of Amesbury, Mass., showed fire apparatus lighting equipment including red flashers and flood lights. John Killduff was in charge.
The latest types of Lux and Fyre Freez extinguishers were shown by Harold W. DeVeer, of the Lux-Fyre Freez Company, of Boston, and P. W. Eberhardt, of Walter Kidde & Co., of New York. An interesting item on display was the new Lux Fyre Freez water conversion unit showing the method of changing soda and acid tanks to water using CO, for pressure. The Kidde water and carbon dioxide units were shown and there was a display of motion pictures which attracted crowds to the booth.
Louis W. Bills, of Lexington, Mass., had a fine display of fire alarm equipment including pedestals, red lights, fire alarm boxes, punch registers, and Cunningham air whistles.
The C. G. Braxmar Company, of New York, had a very striking display of fire and police badges of all kinds, sizes, and shapes. John O. Veit was in charge.
The Colonial Badge Company, of Providence, R. I., showed badges and rank emblems for use on uniform coats, also name plates. Gordon Johnson was in charge.
The Hodges Badge Company, of 166 Essex Street, Boston, Mass., showed badges and insignia. Frederick J. Hodges was in charge.
The Justin A. McCarthy Company, of Boston, showed Manhattan Fire Hose, M and M siphons, Cooper hose jackets, play pipes and nozzles, axes, fire hats, and a complete line of supplies. Justin McCarthy and Franklin W. Haines were in charge.
The D. B. Smith Company, of Utica, N. Y., showed their famous Indian forest fire pumps, including the latest type of 5-gallon can, with form fitting ventilator shield to prevent moisture and cold from being felt by the person carrying the pump. Thomas M. Burton was in charge.
Charles Niedners’ Sons Company, of Malden, Mass., displayed Red Chain Forestry Hose. A. L. Niedner was in charge.
The Mine Safety Appliances Company exhibited the H and H inhalators, Burrell all service gas masks, M. S. A. ammonia masks, protector hats, and oxygen breathing apparatus. Alfred Kinsella was in charge.
Other exhibits were as follows: Reo cars shown by the Darling Automobile Company; quart size gas type extinguishers shown by Stop-Fire, Inc., of 621 East 216th Street, New York City, represented by J. Preston Miller; firemen’s coats and quick hitches, shown by the Midwestern Manufacturing Company, of Mackinaw, Ill., represented by I. A. Luft; firemen’s uniforms, coats, caps, and badges shown by Wallace Brothers, of Portland, Me., represented by William W. Wallace; Vio Gen treatment for burns shown by F. E. Burnham, of West Medway, Mass.; oil of salt for first aid, rubber hats, and Bullard first aid kits shown by the Direct Sales Company and E. D. Bullard Company; fire hose manufactured by the Fabric Fire Hose Company, of Sandy Hook, N. Y., represented by Robert Many; firemen’s uniforms and caps shown by the Rosenfield Uniform Company, of Boston, Mass.; Pyrene and Phomene extinguishers shown by the Pyrene Manufacturing Company, of Newark, N. J., represented by C. J. McClasken; waterproof paints shown by the Bauer Hardware Company; and Maine mill products shown by the Worumbo Manufacturing Company and the Androscoggin Bates Hill Company. Highland Springs beverages and popcorn completed the exhibits.
On Tuesday evening there was a concert in the armory by Kora Temple Shrine Band, followed by dancing, with music directed by Dwight F. Marble, and on Wednesday evening there was a 10-act vaudeville show staged by Jack Kenney and Charles “Sandy” Chapman.
The Exhibit Committee was composed of Edgar E. Ramsdell, Reserve Deputy Chief, Lewiston Fire Department. Chairman: Chief George C. Bancroft, of Auburn. Me., and Harry J. Lovell, of Boston.