New York Auto Fire Apparatus.
Fire Commissioner Johnson, of this city, gave a free exhibition of his new automobile fire fighting apparatus in front of the City Hall one day last week. Several thousand persons, including Mayor Gaynor, looked over the ponderous engines that signified the passing of the horses, so far as the fire department is concerned, and Commissioner Johnson received many compliments upon the fine showing the department made. As a contrast two fire horses hitched to a steam engine were drawn up alongside the newer types. The official party besides the mayor and the commissioner, consisted of Deputy Commissioners Olvany and Farley, Chief Kenton and Deputy Chief Lally, who is head of the uniformed force in Brooklyn. Eighteen pieces of the new apparatus were in line, including 12 battalion chiefs’ automobiles and tenders. Among the apparatus actually used in fighting fires were four high pressure wagons, two from Company 72, on West 12th street, under Captain Kohler, and two from Company 20 on Lafayette street, under Captain Riggers; Automobile Engine 58, from 81 West 115th street, under Captain Weber, and Water Tower 1, from the headquarters, in East 31st street, under Captain Sullivan. Engine 58, which is the pioneer of the city’s automobile fire apparatus and was designed by Rhinelander Waldo when he was fire commissioner, was care fully inspected by the mayor. After he had looked over all the machines, the mayor turned his attention to the two veteran bay fire horses, wreathed in paper laurel and chrysanthemums, which were standing in front of the line of firemen. One, The Abbott, has been in the service of the department for 25 years, and is still active, doing service as one of a team of three that draw an engine from the Tremont avenue fire house in the Bronx. The other, Brentwood, has served the city for 18 years, and now draws fuel wagon 45, housed in West 18th street. There was plenty of ginger in them despite their long service, for when the siren whistles on the new machines blew a long screeching chorus as a salute to the mayor, the animals plunged and reared and were restrained with difficulty. The mayor said: “I think that this exhibit was splendid, ft shows the progress that is being made from horses to automobiles. In a few years there will be no horses in the fire department. I suppose that the same may be the case with the street cleaning department before long also. It is a pity from a sentimental point to lose the horses, but alas, sentiment in this world has to give way to economics.” Show at 330 Broadway. Commissioner Johnson made a plea in an address for an increase in firemen’s salaries, and criticised the board of estimate for not giving the department enough money to “catch up with the growth of the city.” “The fire department,” said the commissioner, “has stood still, and already there are in the city many sections in grave danger because of lack of fire protection. If the board of estimate wants to take the responsibility for this state of affairs it is up to it and not me. I am trying my best to take care of the responsibilities intrusted to me, but what can I do when the board of estimate will not give me sufficient money to make our fire department efficient enough to take care of the city as it should be taken care of?” Following the commissioner’s speech there were moving pictures showing firemen at work and scenes about the engine houses.
Commissioner Johnson explained that there are now six automobile high pressure wagons in the department service and four more had been ordered. It is the intention of the commissioner to equip all new fire houses with automobile apparatus and to replace horse-drawn vehicles in other houses as rapidly as possible. The fire department also is the star exhibit at the Budget