Notes From Evansville, Ind.
GENERAL NEWS FEATURES
With a turn over from a Republican to a Democratic administration quite a number of changes were made in the heads of the fire department. As chief, James Dunlevy, who was appointed, has a record of being chief for six years. He was removed four years ago, and replaced by U. S. Grant, who had been an assistant chief off and on for six years. Grant was not even made a captain by the new administration, being reduced to ladderman. Dunlevy was made captain after being retired as chief, and Grant’s friends expected a similar grade for him. A year ago the old administration created the office of second assistant chief and Dunlevy was appointed. Charles Wilder succeeded himself as first assistant, while Snydor Carter was made second assistant Carter, years ago, had a term of two years as chief. All three chiefs have made good records as capable and up-to-date firemen, so, as far as the efficiency of the heads of the department is concerned, there is nothing to worry. Then a bunch of captains was reduced to the ranks and men who had been captains before, or most of them, were reappointed. They are men of experience who have seen service many years. The men let out were those who had done party work for the past administration and were rewarded by being given a firemen’s job, and the new men appointed are all in the same class. Some politics, eh? When the old administration came into office it promised to make appointments on a civil service basis, so that none of those in the service would lose their positions by the change. That is one of the old stale jokes dished out every time a change of administration takes place. Ex-Chief Grant told the writer four years ago that if the mayor and board of safety would give him full power he would make the department, which had a good record then, a still better one. It didn’t take him long to find out that he was chief only in name, that is, he could direct the men and take charge at fires, but when it came to appointing or shifting or disciplining them he was not in it. At several large fires some of the new men were so drunk that they had to be suspended on the spot and later dropped from the department. The new mayor, Mr. Boose, four years ago was a member of the board of safety and took great pride in the department; in fact so much so that he used to refer to it as “my fire department.” He has notified the firemen that the chiefs are in command of the department and the men will have to obey their orders, and not come to him with their troubles if they get in bad with their superiors. He also wants all “mooching” cut out and drinking, that is, having a beaten track to the nearest saloon in the vicinity of a station, prohibited.
Ex-Chief Grant, the first year of his incumbency, had many large fires to fight and as usual such terms as “the department is rotten and with no discipline” were heard on all sides. After that he was more lucky in having less fires; in fact, a large fire is an unknown thing in Evansville for the last three years. We have two pieces of motor apparatus and Chief Dunlevy says that gradually the department will be fully motorized, but nothing can be done this year as there is no money in the treasury—only enough to meet running expenses. A new fire alarm system was completed by the past administration and put in service this month. As all chiefs and firemen know, fire departments always need something and the same can be said of Evansville, all of which will be added gradually so as to meet the enemy—the fire fiend.
J. M. D.
Evansville, Ind., Jan. 13, 1914.
Declaring fire houses of Baltimore, Md., to be “unsanitary, unventilated, damp and dismal,” the grand jury, in its report filed last week, flayed the department. Not a single fire station in the entire city is without need of repair in some form or other, according to the report. For these conditions, the report declares. the Fire Board and Building Inspector Stubbs are not to blame, as they “are anxious to improve conditions, but have not the money at their disposal.”