Pacific Coast Association of Fire Chiefs

Pacific Coast Association of Fire Chiefs


Seventy-five delegates, representing five States and three Canadian provinces and including many fire fighters of wide experience and heroic service, went into session in Tacoma Monday, August 25, at the twenty-first convention of the Pacific Coast Association of Fire Chiefs.

The following attended the convention: J. E. Shrewsbury, Long Beach; A. J. Eley, Los Angeles; C. E. Foster, Astoria; A. W. U’Ren, Colton, Cat.; S. H. Short, assistant chief. Oakland; J. A. Brophy, Vallejo; R. S. Adams, Petaluma; A. Watt, Bremerton; T. C. Parker, Piedmont, Cal.; E. G. Dawson, North Yakima; R. S. Tait, Santa Cruz; D. P. Bradley, Port Townsend; J. H. O’Rourk, Coeur d’Alene; W. W. Stoves, Kelso; R. MacKay, Kamloops, B. C.; George A. Hubbard, Venice; G. M. Hanisch, Roseville, Cal.; D. Walsh, Santa Clara; F. C. Miller, Centralia; P. W. Culver, Raymond; W. Kitchen. Roslyn; Joseph Wood, Renton; F. S. Ifirsch. agent, Los Angeles; Ed. Nosbauch, Kedland. Cal.; J. F. Moffat, Vernon, B. C.; Bert Cleveland, Ontario, Cal.; B. H. McDonald, Prince Rupert, B. C.; J. N. Winter, Redwood City. Cal.; James P. Coleman, Redwood City; George A. Barry, Puyallup; L. D. Poole, Redding, Cal.; J. Findlay, South Vancouver, B. C.; J. L, Philips, agent, Seattle; F. L. Stetson, ehiei, Seatth . C. H. Leneville, Forest Grove, Ore.; Charles I. Warren, Arlington; John Parkin, Nanaimo. It C.; Arthur Turner, Point Grey, It. C.; E. It. Raymond, ex-chief, Olympia: C F. Otterson. Napa, Cal.; G. E. Morley, agent, San Francisco: W. H. Tamblyn, Aberdeen; W. E. Crawford. Hoquiam; Fred A. Wood, agent. Seattle; B A Day, agent, Seattle: W. T. Stapleton, assstant chief, Raymond; Joseph Schneider, Riverside. Cal.; C. A. Munroe, Cle Elum; 1). P. Reid, exchief, Cle Elum; T. G. Lauder, Edmonton, Alberta; J. H. Watson, New Westminster, B. C.; George Orth, Ellensburg; Dan B. Keating, Marshfield, Ore.; W. T. Steinmetz. Alameda. Cal.; F. B. Shattuck, agent, Seattle; Henry Floter, Tulare, Cal.; George E. Wallace, Modesto. Cal.; A. J. Van T.andringham, Wenatchee; VV. C. Young, Santa Ana, Cal.; E. P. Nitinger. Santa Monica; II. P. Travers, agent. Oakland; W. D. Wilson, Santa Ana; C. A. Harlin, Wenatchee; M. A. Pierstorff, Lewiston, Idaho; Edward Haley, San Jose, Cal.; R. S. Dickenson. Santa Ana; P. F. Floffncss, Missoula. Mont.; W. G. Ranes, Raymond; F. G. Starke. San Bernardino; Thomas Davies, Victoria; N. T. Bradley, Port Townsend; J. J. Marsh, Bellingham; C. A. Taber, agent. San Francisco: A. J. Long. Chehalis; A. B. Hughes, agent, Seattle; J. G. Leneville, F’orest Grove, Ore.; A. B. Hendrie. Snohomish; H. W. Bringhurst. ex-chief, Seat tie; A. A. Bauman, Lvnden, Wash.; G. C. McDaniel, Burlington, Wash.; George McAlevy. Tacoma. Wash.; Otto Schlegel, Tacoma, Wash.; B. H. Barnes, Olymnia. Wash.; John Mechlin. San Jose, Cal.; A. F. Wright. Tacoma, Wash.; A. G. Long, Portland. Ore.; S. V. Wright. Port land, Ore ; A. W. Plymnton. Portland, Ore.; Thomas Baird, Fresno, Cal.

They were gathered from cities and towns extending from the northern part of British Columbia as far south as the Mexican I nc. and from west of the Rockv mountains With all oi the officers present and President T. K. Shrewsbury, chief of the Long Beach, Cal., fire department, in the chair, the meeting was called to order noon the arrival of Mayor W. W. Seymour and Commissioner of Public Safety A U. Mills The mayor was introduced and extended a hearty welcome to the v sitors to which Chief Archie J Eley, first vice-president, of Los Angeles. replied. Commissioner Mills extended a still more hearty welcome to the fire fighters, relating how he had served as a member of a volunteer fire department in New York State, and also in the early Tacoma days, lie created considerable laughter when he reminded Chief Eley, of Los Angeles, that Tuesday the chiefs would be taken to Mount Tacoma, not Rainer.

“You can stop at Mount Rainier or Mount Seattle, if you want to. but we are going to show you Mount Tacoma first.” said the commissioner. “There is just one favor I ask, and that is that you do not put out the fire after you get to the top. We are quite nroud of that httle fire.” He informed the fire chiefs that he intended to include in his 1914 budget an item of expense for the purchase of two more gasoline fire pumps, similar to the one recently purchased at a cost of over $10,000. This was greeted bv round applause, and later Chief Davis, of Victoria, who had viewed the big machine. declared that it was one of the best firefighting machines in the countrv. The big pump will be demonstrated for the benefit of the visitors. Chief George McAlevy, of Tacoma, said, if the visitors so desired. The hearty co-operation of Commissioner Mills and the warm assurance of the mayor led the fire chiefs to vote them honorary members of the assoc ation.

Chief Edward Haley, of San Jose, Cal., suggested that in the future fire commissioners be invited to attend the conventions of the association, in an effort to inspire more harmonious co-operation between the commissoners and fire ch efs. The order of business was taken up immediately. and Chiefs C. J. Warren. Arlington, Wash.; A. W. U’Ren, Colton, Cal., and J. Parkins, of Nainaitno, B. C. were named on the credentials committee. The session then became informal during the payment of dues and registration, and was adjourned to meet at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.


At the Monday afternoon session, when general discussion of various vital topics to the fire fighters were discussed, the passing of the horse and the adoption of motor-driven fire apparatus was unanimously agreed upon. Nearly every chief had some warning to sound.

Chief A. J. Eley, of Los Angeles, said “Don’t let your men get the speed craze Pick vour men carefully and watch them, to see that they are capable of keeping their heads. 1 would recommend that governors be put on all motors, to limit their speed. It is better to go at half speed and get to the fire than to go at full speed and end in the ditch. I should say cars should not be driven faster than 25 miles an hour. Faster than that is dangerous, and an accident means ruined apparatus and dead men.”

Chief F. L. Stetson, of Seattle, said: “Where a city like ours would require a motor of 80 to 100 horsepower, one situated on the level would get the same serv ce with less than half the pow-er. Speed is all right up to a certain point, but I am in sympathy with everything Mr. Eley has said. When the streets are wet, over 25 miles an hour is in the danger zone, and while your motor may be capable of going 60 miles an hour, never let your men use it.”

Chief Thomas Dav-s, of Victoria, quoted multitudinous figures to prove that fire horses are of the past, and that motor-driven apparatus is the cheapest, safest and quickest. No more horses are being purchased for the Victoria fire department, he said.

Chief C. F. F’oster, of Astoria, related his experience and difficulties n obtaining motor apparatus. Assistant Chief Short, of Oakland, told of the system of full pay men, and call men, explaining that the full pay men were always first at the fires and did better work. He said one Sf his motor fire engines would pass seven horse-drawn engines in five blocks.

Kenneth J. Kerr, editor of the Railway and Marine News, gave an interesting history and resume of the work of Pacific coast fire departments. Thomas E. Heath, chief of the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, fire department, was unable to be present, and his paper on “Time and Its Importance in Fire Service” was ready by Secretary Bringhurst. As an auditing committee, there were appointed Chief George E. Wallace, Modesto, Cal.; Chief E. G. Dawson. North Yakima, Wash.; Chief C. E. Foster, Astoria, Ore The exhibit committee was changed to Chief T. H. Watson, New Westminster, B. C.; Chief C. F. Otterson, Napa, Cal.; Assistant Chief S. H. Short, Oakland, Cal. After a two-hour discussion of motor fire apparatus, the session adjourned.

Apparatus on Display

A display of fire-fighting apparatus was made at 704 Pacific avenue, showing all the latest inventions in this kind of fire-fighting machines A new deluge set. assembling four hose lines in one, to make a strong stream, is one of the interesting pieces of apparatus shown.

The states represented in the convent’on are Californ a. Oregon. Idaho, Arizona and Washington. The Canadian provinces are British Columbia. Alberta and Saskatoon.

Californians 28 Strong

Twenty-eight representatives of the California fire fighters arrived in Tacoma from the south. They traveled by special car and had an exceed ngly jolly trip. To while away the time they organized a traveling government. Chief Short, of Oakland, was made judge; Chief Haley, of San Jose, prosecuting attorney. C. A. Taber, a fire alarm company representative of San Francisco, was tried on a charge of transporting dynamite from one car to another, and was defended by Chief Walsh, of Santa Clara. The charge was dismissed when the dynamite was proved to be socks, but Mr. Taber was not allowed to get off scot free; he was found guilty of brib ng the judge, and was chained securely in a corner of the car for some time while his companions pestered him.

Most of Wednesday morning’s session was taken up with discussions of the handling of gasoline. This was led by Chief R. S. Adams, of Petaluma, Cal., with a detailed account of their gasoline explosion of last fall when 30 people were burned, one fatally.

The chief topics of Wednesday afternoon’s discussions were heights and areas of buildings, and the construction of chimneys. It seemed to be the consensus of opinion among the chiefs of the larger cities that sky-scrapers are hopeless as far as fire protection is concerned, unless they are equipped with adequate automatic sprinkling devices. Chief F. L. Stetson, of Seattle, said that, should a tire break out in one ot the upper noors ot the new 42-story Smith budding there, he trusted it would burn down to where his tiremen could reach it. An able paper on the subject was read oy Fire Marshal Bringhurst, of Seattle, secretary of the convention.

Discusses Building Heights

“Two of the most important branches of the study of tire prevention are those relating to the hazards of heights and areas,” said Mr. Bringhurst. “it cannot be said that either has kept pace with advanced ideas in construction, for in every city are buildings which stand as proof that the contrary is true. Very little consideration has been given to the conservative advice of those who viewed these subjects in the light of experience. Tall buildines are regarded as such valuable advertisements that any city will welcome and encourage the man who desires to erect one, and we need not be surprised if it changes the building ordinance to suit his pleasure.

“Fortunately, the excessively tall buildings arc as yet used only for office purposes and are, therefore, cut up into small rooms. Their contents, while combustible, are well distributed and do not make fires that get beyond the firemen’s control. Since our 42-story building was started, our council has determined to submit for a charter amendment a limit of 200 feet for the height of all buildings hereafter erected. One hundred and fifty or even 100 feet would be better. As for areas, all build ng ordinances should classify more on heights from the ground and upon possible occupancies.”

Mr. Bringhurst urged the use of basement pipes for quenching fires in the first floors of buildings. He said he and Chief Stetson did not hold them superior to sprinklers, but very effective for k lling basement blazes when a start might mean the shooting of flatties up an elevator shaft or stairway to other floors.

The subject of engine heaters was discussed generally by Chiefs Haley, Tamblyn, Eley, Foster and Short. As between gas and coal systems, coal was favored on account of the expense of gas.

Fix Chimney Standard

A communication w’as received from the national board of underwriters requesting that the chiefs consider the question of ch mneys. To bring the question before the convention, it w’as moved that it be the sense of the convention that a chimney of four inches thickness of brick with a suitable terra cotta lining be fixed as standard. This brought about a great deal ot discussion and recitals of experiences, various chiefs speaking of the common thickness of chimney walls and local regulations. The motion carried. Tacoma’s $11,000 pumping engine w’as taken to the city dock at Fifteenth street for a pumping demonstration after the afternoon session, and after the evening session a searchlight demonstration was given the chiefs.

Wednesday Evening

Chief A. J. Elev, of Los Angeles, was elected president of the Pacific ^oast Fire Chiefs’ Association. Chief Eley, who had been a vice-president, succeeds Chief J. E. Shrewsbury, of Long Beach. As Chief Eley left for New’ York to attend the national convention of fire chiefs. Chief Shrewsbury continued in the chair. Chief J. J. Marsh, of Bellngham, was elected first vice-president; Chief George McAlevy, of Tacoma, treasurer, and Fire Marshal Harry W. Bringhurst, of Seattle, was re-elected secretary, a position he has held since his first election to the post in 1898. The next convention will be held in 1914 at Victor a, B. C., which was proposed by Chief J. H. Watson, of New Westminster, B. C. Official invitation was extended in a communication from the mayor of Victoria. The following were elected State vice-presidents: Alberta—T. G. Lauder, Edmonton; British Columbia—J. A. Findlay, North Vancouver; California —George E. Wallace, Modesto; Idaho—J. H. O’Rourke, Cceur d’Alene; Montana—E. F. Loffttes, Missoula; Oregon—Dan F. Keating, Marshfield ; Washington—A. B. Hendrie, Snohomish.

On account of his early departure, Chief Eley was installed with some ceremony, two of the huskiest chiefs escorting him around the room while the crowd clapped bands in time with the steps of the degree team. Chief D_. Walsh, of Santa Clara, Cal., was singled out as the “goat” for the sacrifice. The lights were put out, and he was compelled to crawl around the table on his hands and knees, in spite of h.s protests that he snould be on his way to meet a cousin at the tram. It was decided to arrange the dates of the next convention to allow plenty ot time for those chiels who will go from Victoria to the next national convention, as several are doing this year.

Thursday Session

The matter of proper fire escapes was discussed at the chiefs morning session in Odd Fellows’ Hall. Chiet C. F. Otterson’s, of Napa. Cal., description ot an inclosed device constructed inside a budding, like a spiral chute, was indorsed. Chiet Otterson described an inclosed device now in use in an insane asylum in his city. During a recent experiment, Chief Ottersoir sa.d, 1,690 inmates left the building in 2 minutes and 26 seconds. The escape is constructed inside the building, and is a spiral chute. Chief Long then protested aga.nst the existing State fire escape laws, which, he declared, allowed the old style vertical ladders. As soon as Chief Long closed his remarks, Chief Otterson sprang to his feet and in a loud voice declared that fire escapes could not be constructed too elaborately.

“My mother and my brother were burned to death in a Seattle hotel fire just because the building was not equipped with proper escapes,” said Cnief Otterson. “We are here to devise means of pubic safety, and not form plans to save hotel men money. They are all out for the dollar, li they had their way, they would leave fire escapes out of the question altogether. The escapes cannot be too elaborate. The poorer the construction of the house, the better the escape should be.”

There was a momentary catch in Chief Otterson’s voice as he spoke of the disaster which overcame his family, and all of the delegates were visibly affected. When he resumed his seat he was applauded for several minutes. The convention tnen went on record as indorsing the inclosed style of fire escape.

Cleaning and Dyeing Plants

Proper legislation for cleaning and dyeing establishments and methods of regulating the storage of gasoline were discussed in a paper written by Harry C. Chantler, Tacoma fire marshal. Mr. Chantler illustrated a talk following by the fire Wednesday in the Clinton block, caused by a Japanese pressing a coat which had been cleaned with gasoline, contrary to warning given him because he had not followed the city ordinance of having his gasoline tank buried underground.

The secretary read a paper on “F’ire Escapes,” written by Chief Thomas Baird, of Fresno, and another by ex-Chief E. B. Raymond, of Olympia, on “Fire Prevention as the Public Sees It.”

Secretary Harry’ Bringhurst, fire marshal of Seattle, was presented with a handsome traveling bag by the delegates as a token of their appreciation of his long services for the association.

Discussion and apparent general advocacy’ of high pressure water systems for fighting fire, based on the alleged increased efficiency and economy of the lngn pressure system over steam fire engines, formed the principal topic before the Pacific coast fire chiefs’ convention at the closing session Thursday afternoon in the council chamber, city hall.

The lire chiefs listened with interest to the speakers on the topic and advocates of the use of salt water mains. But with more than their ears they entered into the concluding business of their twenty-first annual convention, the installation of all the new officers, except the president, who was installed Wednesday evening.

Installation No Pink Tea

The fire chief’s installation was no pink tea party, but it might have been a suffragettes’ meeting in London. It consisted mainly of two men leading the new officer by the arm about the room twice while the onlookers vigorously tried to stamp down the city hall floor and clapped calloused hands together until it seemed like the staccato notes ot an auto’s engine.

Even Secretary Harry Bringhurst was yanked up from his chair and forced to take the “walk.” Fire Chief McAlevy, of Tacoma, the treasurer, did not get off so easy. F’our men grabbed the heavy victim by the shoulders and legs, and carried him twice around the room, while the chiefs emphasized their approval. However, they had given Chief HcAlevy three cheers after the reading of the resolutions just before and with another big cheer for Tacoma it was considered that the “walk” had been well paid for.

Uitcuai Salt Water Mains

The salt water main system and high pressure topic was introduced by Chief George A. Hubhard, ot Venice, Cal., wno told of the salt water system in that city. Chiet Nitt.uger, ol Santa Monica, Cal., toltowed with a description of the disastrous fire at that town which was checked by the salt water system of Venice. Chief F. L. Stetson, of Seattle, asked as to die efficiency of salt water streams, and told of the present water system and reservoirs in Seattle. Chief Shrewsbury, ot Long Beach, Cal., told about the plans tor that place, which is about to hold a bond election tor a hign pressure system. Chief Short, of Oakland, Cal., told of the salt water system there, and saiu that salt water was more ctncient than fresh in fighting fires, but damaged goods more. Chief culver, of Raymond, Wash., told ot the system there, the question of durability ot pipes carrying salt water then arose, it being supposed that salt water corrodes the p.pes so that their hte is short. Chief Hubbard, ot Venice, said the pipes laid there in 1906 are still in use and in excellent condition. He also said that it had been proved, so tar, that the h.gli pressure system meant an annual saving ot $2,100 a year over the use ot steam lire engines and a saving ot $0,000 over auto engines, topics which are to be considered at next year’s convention in Victoria were suggested beiore the meeting adjourned, as follows:

Revival of persons who are suffocated; revival of persons wno are suffocated by gas; first aid tor burned persons; wooden water ma.ns; electrolysis; skylights and elevators.

Resolutions were adopted on the deaths of Henry Bmith, ex-chiet ot the Koslyn, Wash., fire department, who committed suicide May 9, 1913, and J. I. Woollomes, chief of the Whittier, Cal., department, who dieu in May; also thanking the various officials here who nad entertained the chiets during their stay in Tacoma.

No posts to display