NEWARK FIRE DEPARTMENT NEWS
Specially written for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.
The city has been divided into four fire districts, which has necessitated the creation of two new battalion chiefs. This has materially changed the make-up of the fire department, which had already been somewhat altered by the unanimous election of John B. Oelkers president in succession to Thomas E. Burke.—At the same executive session of the board of fire commissioners, C. Albert Gasser, late private secretary to former Mayor Doremus, was chosen superintendent of the recently authorised bureau of combustibles. He was unanimously elected at the ensuing open session, and his salary was fixed at $2,000 a year.— The salaries of officers and employes of the department, which had not already been raised, were put up higher. Among these were the following salaries: Chief Kiersted, from $3,500 to $4,000 a year; Assistant Chief Astley, from $2,700 to $3,000; Adam Bosch, superintendent of firealarm telegraph, from $2,600 to $3,000; Secretary Flavel W. Sullivan, from $1,500 to $1,800; Superintendent of Repairs Edward S. Clymer, from $1,400 to $r,6oo; Hugh M. Hart, M. D., department physician, from $1,200 to $1,600; Veterinarian James T. Glennon, from $1,200 to $1,6000— the last three named to have the rank of captain. The salaries of other subordinates were raised proportionately. At the same session Captains Matthew P. A. McDermit. of engine company No. 1, and Paul J. Moore, of hook and ladder truck No. 3. were promoted as battalion chiefs at an annual salary of $2,000 each. According to the new arrangement of dividing the city into four districts, each chief is now held responsible for conditions in his section. These new battalion chiefs will enter upon their duties on March 15. Their records are as follows: Captain McDermit joined the department on July 3, 1884, and was sent to engine 3. On March 1, 1880. he was transferred to truck 3; on August 1, 1889, to engine 11; on April 16, 1890, he returned to truck 3; on January 1, 1891, he was transferred to engine 2; on November t2, 1892, to engine 6; on July 17. 1895, to engine 3 On March 15 1807. he was made captain, and sent to engine 5; on December 16. 1901. to engine 7; and on December 15, 1906, to engine t. Captain Moore joined the department on March 4. 1802, and was sent to engine 7; on August to, 1889, he was made lieutenant; on May 1, 1901, captain, when he was transferred to engine 12; on January 1, 1004, he was transferred to truck 3. These promotions and raises in salaries (the latter amounting to a total of $5,460,000) were all well deserved, and lot one has been criticised by the taxpaving citizens. In fact, these are too proud of their fire department and the very high place it occupies among the fire departments of this continent even to think of begrudging the recipients one cent of the additional money granted them.—It has been determined by the board to establish a roll of honor to he open to the public to inspect, on which shall be inscribed the names of those men in the fire department whose heroism merits it. The different captains of the different companies sent in letters telling of rescues effected by members of the department at recent fires. The list already con tains the names of two captains, two lieutenants and eleven firemen, and include I rescues from fire and drowning and the recovery of the body of Lieutenant Benjamin Birch after the fire on the premises of the Murray Brothers.—A page in the minutes of the board of fire commissioners was devoted to the memory of Lieutenant Birch, whom Captain Charles S. Macknet. of his company (engine No. 5), reported as a “good fireman. who always took pride and interest in his work.” In moving that suitable resolutions should he drafted for inscribing on the page of the minute hook recording the death of the lieutenant, in speaking of which Fire Commissioner Burke remarked that “it was to be deplored, as, in view of the many rescues told of, which had stirred him (the speaker) with pride in the department, it came as a dark lining to a silver cloud.”—In relinquishing the office of president of the board of fire commissioners, Commissioner Burke adverted to the extremely pleasant relations which bad always existed between himself and the other members of the board, and thanked them and the members of the department for their hearty cooperation with him during his term of office. Commissioners Logan. Gnichtel and Oelkers paid a high tribute to the retiring president, in whose honor his friends from outside had sent in two large jardinieres of palms surrounded by carnations and a basket of roses and carnations.— Peter Campbell, president of the Norris Linoleum works at Kearny, has sent a check for $250 to be placed to the credit of the Pension fund, and another check for $100 has been received from FrankMillion, whose store was damaged by the fire in Murray Bros.’ saloon, with the request, which, of course, was instantly complied with, that it should be paid to the widow of Lieutenant Birch, who met his death at that fire.—At two night fires in this city on March 5 the firemen rescued women and children under very trying conditions. In one, at 79 South Canal street, a woman and her three children were rescued just in time to save them from perishing in the flames. They were carried down a ladder three stories to the ground by the men of truck company No. 1. The rescued, including the mother, with her sixteenmonth infant, a four-year-old boy and a nineyear old girl, were partially overcome with smoke and standing at a top window crying for help. In the other, at 273 ½ Warren street, five persons were rescued by Lieutenant Dennis Guidera, of truck company No. 3, and Captain John J. Towey, of engine companv No. 7. The former carried down a 35-ft. ladder an aged and very heavy woman and her two grandchildren, one a threeyear-old hoy, the other a seven-menth-old infant. The old woman first handed him the baby from a third floor front window, and he made a quick trip down the ladder to the ground, and then another as quick up again, and carried the young boy down. With the assistance of another fireman, he then brought the grandmother down, after she had risked her life by running back to rescue her elder grandchild. In passing, it may be added that she lost a sister, a niece and a grand-daughter in the Slocum disaster. Meanwhile, out of four children on the second floor, two, a boy and a girl ten and twelve years old, made their way down by the stairway. The other two could not follow them for the smoke, and. therefore, awaited the coming of the firemen. Captain Towey. of engine No. 7. got there first. He called to the children to leap down one by one and he would catch them. He braced himself beneath the window, and the bov at once jumped into the captain’s arms in safety. The girl at first hesitated, hut finally took the lean. and. though the force of her fall nearly threw the captain to the ground, she. also, was saved. Ringing cheers greeted every rescue at each fire. The heroes of the South Canal street fire were Firemen Winters, of truck No. 2. Charles Fanet. of truck company No. i. who carried out two children: also. Firemen Fred Manger. Jacob Ash. Adam Rocklein and Darcie F. Van Volkenbure, of truck companv No 1: Alfred Rishee. of truck company No. 3. and Fireman Winters of engine company No. 2. for carrying nut three children. Those of the Warren street fire, besides Captain Mackin and Lieutenant Guidera. who rescued the various victims of the Warren street fire, were Captain Moore and Fireman Recheton, of truck company No. 3 The names of all these, with those of Fireman Gartland, of engine No. 3. who led the party searching for Lieutenant Birch, and Fireman John A O’Connor, who rescued two boys from drowning in the Morris canal, have all had their names inscribed on the roll of honor.—The funeral of Lieutenant Birch took place yesterday from the Roman Catholic church of St. Tames, where a High Mass of Requiem was celebrated bv the Vcrv Rev. Dean Patrick Cody, rector of the parish, in presence of hosts of friends, members of every company in the fire department, a detail of exempt firemen with a fife and drum corps. Dean Cody sooke briefly of the life of a fireman, calling it bv its true name of a profession and likening it to that of the clergy, inasmuch as the former spends his life in working for and saving their fellow-men from death, while the lives of the latter were devoted to saving souls. From the church the casket was borne to the hearse on the shoulders of memhers of the deceased lieutenant’s company, all the men of engine company No. 5 being present, except Joseph A. Garland, who led in the rescue of his companion’s bodv. and is now ill from the effects, and Tohn Mensinger. who, also, is sick. They acted as pallbearers, under Captain Charles J. Macknet, the only one not of engine No. 5 being John Hagar. formerly of that company, but now of engine No. 17. The delegation of forty city firemen was led by Battalion Chief Robert E. Morgan; that of the Exempt Firemen’s association by Captain Charles Hamburger, its secretary. The floral tributes were many and appropriate, engine No. 5 and the Exempts sending two. a tieman’s helmet and bugle. The children and residents of Congress street, also, with whom Lieutenant Birch was a general favorite, sent a number of floral tributes. As the cortege passed No. 5 enginehouse, on Lafayette street, a temporary crew of firemen stood with bowed and bared heads in front of the wide-open doors, while the tire alarm tolled. As the procession was passing up Bank street, it was met by several engines on their way to a small fire. The interment was in the cemetery of the Holy Sepulchre.