Pacific Coast Chiefs.
VERY SUCCESSFUL CONVENTION, AND ABLE PAPERS—ELECTION OF OFFICERS—LOSANGELES SELECTED FOR THE NEXT CONVENTION.
The convention of the fire chiefs of the Pacific Coast in San Francisco, from February 7th to the 10th, must afford great satisfaction to the service in the far west. The meetings took place in the hall of the Exempts, which was handsomely decorated. Mayor Ellert being introduced by Chief Sullivan, welcomed the firemen and then the ball had been started to roll. Speeches were made by Chiefs Deasy, Kellogg and Lillis. Routine business took up the rest of the day and on Wednesday the discussion of topics began. The list that had been prepared was as follows :
No. 1. The best plan for organizing paid fire departments in small cities and towns. T. Ackerman, New Westminster, B. C.
No. 2. How far are paid departments applicable to small towns and villages. T. Ackerman, New Westminster, 15. C.
No. 3. On the advantages of stand pipes and stationary ladders or fire escapes. II. Morgan, Portland, Ore.
No. 4. The importance of arranging iron shutters that they may be opened from the outside of the building in case of fire. T. F. Howard, Pendleton, Ore.
No. 5. Can electric light and power wires be made safe? If so, how? J. Pearse, Denver, Col.
No. 6. The importance of insurance companies discriminating in favor of lower rates of insurance in all cities, large or small, having paid fire departments. T. Deasy, Victoria, 15. C.
No. 7. What is the best fire apparatus for small places, especially such places as can afford but limited lire protection? T. C. Blalock, Walla Walla, Wash.
No. 8. The duty of fire departments in relation to .the protection of property from damage by water as well as from fire, and what are the advantages of automatic relief valves and shut-off or controlling nozzles? E. 15. Page, Boise City, Idaho.
No 9. The importance of all cities adopting good and wholesome building laws, thereby preventing fire from communicating from one building to another R Holman, Portland, Oregon.
No 10 On the importance of having the Fire Alarm Telegraph system inaugurated in all cities and towns wherein there are fire departments; and the adoption of a reliable mode of receiving and transmitting alarms; and the use of non-interfering automatic alarm boxes. F. C. Stover, San Francisco, Cal.
No. 11. The importance of permanence of the position of Chief and Assistant Engineer of Fire Department. J. H. Carlisle, Vancouver, B C.
No. 12. Pile necessity for strict discipline in all fire departments, and the exclusion of all political considerations which tend to destroy it C. II. Stockton, Astoria, Ore.
No 13 On the importance of inaugurating salvage corps in all cities and towns where there are fire department organizations. Superintendent Comstock, San Francisco, Cal
No. 14 The necessity of larger mains and a more abundant supply of fire hydrants, and in laying said mains the means of providing for the wants of the city at least ten years in advance of the time said mains are laid D. T. Sullivan, San Francisco, Cal.
No. 15. The most available measures for the repression of incendiarism. F. B. Winebrenner, Spokane, Wash.
No. 16. What relation do municipal governments bear to their fire departments ? Are they factors in its efficiency?
No. 17. Chemical engines, their use and efficiency in the fire department service. W. 1.. Ogle, manager of theGutta Bercha and Rubber Company of Toronto, Canada.
No. 18. Will the service of a fire marshal in every village decrease the lire loss? and why ? Charles Towe, Fire Marshal of San Francisco.
No. jg. Electrical fire hazards, G. P. Lowe, electrical inspector of the Pacific Insurance Union.
The first paper read was No. 5. Chief Pearse was not present and Secretary Worsley did the honors. It was one of the best papers of the convention. He answered the first question in the affirmative. Safety could be practically secured in three ways—placing wires underground, using perfectly insulated wire, and by careful construction by competent men.
The underground system is by far the best, where possible. Perfect insulation can be obtained without a doubt, but like all good things “ it comes high,” and it is probable that power and light companies will not provide themselves therewith. The top, or higher cross arm of the poles should be reserved for the use of the Fire and Police Departments. All wiies should be strung far enough apart to insure against liability of cross. No insulation should be used that is affected by water. Wires should be carefully strung along buildings in order to clear awnings, signs, etc. In crossing over buildings at least seven feet should be left between wires and roof. No wires should be placed near fire escapes or stand pipes. •
The writer believed that cut-outs, or switches, should be numerous on all electric light and power currents, and a competent line man, supplied with horse and wagon, should respond to all alarms and stand ready to cut out currents near fires. By the adoption of stringent rales power wires can be made practically safe, and this great danger to firemen, particularly to hook and ladder and stand-pipe men, would be lessened thereby.
To Robert Holman, ex-chief of Portland, Ore., had been assigned the topic, “ Importance of all cities adopting good and wholesome building laws, thereby preventing fire from communicating from one building to another.” Buildings should be built of the least combustible material. A city must have an abundant and ever-ready water supply and an efficient fire department, and, further, what is called standard buildings, whose construction is regulated by a most stringent ordinance.
All partitions in brick buildings should be of brick and built from the foundation. Iron shutters should be supplied and solid roofs. All deviation from what is called a standard building should be subject to an additional charge for insurance. The property-owner will soon discover that by altering his building and conforming to the standard he can soon save in premiums .all that he expended on his .alterations.
The speaker said that the character of buildings of the present day was becoming more and more difficult for the successful fighting’ of fire, and carelessness in the construction of buildings is on the increase rather than on the decrease. Buildings are also being built too high for good and efficient service for fire fighting.
Chief Sullivan treated somewhat exhaustively the subject of the necessity of larger mains and a more abundant supply of fire hydrants. On the fact that a steam fire engine in operation would consume 700 gallons per minute, the chief argued that the necessity of an increase in carrying capacity of pipes was apparent. In the management of fires one of the most important factors is to have a superabundant supply of water on hand ready to be called upon at all times.
By a diagram which he made part of his paper the chief showed that there is great necessity for enlarging the mains far above the sizes actually needed for household purposes. He advocated four-inch pipes as absolutely the lowest and considered a minimum of eight inches better for the safety,of San Francisco.
The question “ What Relation Do Municipal Governments Bear to Fire Departments, and Are They Factors in Their Efficiency or Inefficiency?” was a subject assigned to exChief Gardner Kellogg of Seattle. All cities have more or less experience with ignorant legislation. It shows itself in failure to purchase necessary apparatus or in the purchase of inferior apparatus or horses ; in the selection of poor sites for engine houses and in them poor furnishing. It is false economy in all respects. A chief owing his position to political influence is powerless to enforce department regulations. Ilis subordinates are appointed by the same power as himself and the chief has not even the option of discharge. Mr. Kellogg did not undertake to point out the remedy for the trouble nor to say how politics can be weeded out of fire departments, preferring to leave that question to be answered by others.
In the afternoon the greatest discussion of the convention was precipitated on the subject of “ The importance of continuing a chief in office during efficiency.” A paper had been expected on the subject from Chief Carlisle of Vancouver, but in his absence, on motion of ex-Chief Kellogg, it was referred _ to the convention as a whole. Chief Buchtel of Portland, led the discussion, saying that he had noticed that in the older cities of the Union it had been learned that changes were usually detrimental. The late Chief Sexton of St. Louis, had been chief for twenty-four years at the time of his death. Chief McGrew of Cincinnati, had been chief thirty years and was still in charge. Spielman of Baltimore, and Johnson of Philadelphia, were in positions for years, and had been relieved only at their own requests.
Chief Deasy, of Victoria, was glad to state that in British Columbia politics did not cut the least figure and that chiefs were seldom discharged. He was sorry that on this side of the line politics was the great changer. In Portland chiefs had once’been changed five times in seven days. Fie was glad that it was not so in British Columbia.
Chief Rolf of Stockton agreed that the best way to keeppolitics Out of a department was to keep the department out of politics.
Chief Hunt of Seattle, thought that if the true cause of any ex-Chief’s removal on account of politics was looked for it would be found that the Chief had himself been perniciously in politics.
Ex-Chief Worsley of Astoria, ex-Chief Wright of Vallejo, Chief Blalock of Walla Walla, Chief H. M. Lillis, of Tacoma, and Chief McClellan of Olympia, also took part in the discussion.
“ Will the service of a Fire Marshal decrease the fire loss in a city?” was answered in the affirmative by Fire Marshal Towe of San Francisco, provided the official is distinct from the department. His duty should be distinct from that of a chief. That of a chief is to extinguish fires ; that of the marshal is to discover the cause of fires and to protect property after the fire and to enforce certain ordinances. Incendiarism would be greatly diminished if the incendiary knows that the cause is to be investigated and the possibility of his being detected and convicted thereby increased.
George’P. Lowe, electrical inspector for the Pacific Insurance Union, closed the afternoon session with an able paper on “Electrical Fire Hazards.”
Chief Sullivan announced that the exhibits of appliances would not be ready until Wednesday afternoon, and the inspection was postponed until that time.
After a paper on “ Automatic Fire Alarms,” by Frank C. Stover, an invitation was read from Chief Sullivan for the chiefs to attend a banquet at the Baldwin Hotel in the evening, and another from Frank C. Stover for the wives of the chiefs to attend a theatre party at the same time.
The first business of the Thursday session was, according, to a resolution previously passed, the selection of a city for the next convention. Chief Hunt of Seattle, extended the invitation of that city. He offered the convention the hospitality of the Queen City of Puget sound, stating that Seattle was situated between fresh water and salt water, with abundant attractions as far as Scenery is concerned.
The invitation of Los Angeles was presented by Chief Moriarity, who promised not only water, both salt and fresh, but a little wine for the stomach’s sake for those who needed it.
Los Angeles was selected by a vote of 23 to 8. After receiving and filing several communications and the appointment of committees on resolutions, Chief Buchtel of Portland, read an interesting paper on the subject of Stand pipes and fire escapes.
Ile treated particularly and almost exclusively of stand pipes attached permanently to high buildings and of how they could be used. As to fire escapes he was glad to state that nearly every city compelled their erection on all buildings above a certain height. He advised that chiefs go beyond their prescribed duties and see that escapes are properly constructed, as the lives not only of occupants coming down, but also of firemen going up, are often endangered by poorly constructed fire escapes.
Chief McClellan of Olympia, spoke briefly, on the subject of Blind fires and loss by water, try poorly directed streams. Many examples were cited of small fires, emitting an immense volume of smoke, which had resulted in great loss because of the inexperience of the firelighters.
In the afternoon a paper was read by Chief Blalock, of Walla Walla, on the subject of The best apparatus forsmall cities and towns which can have but limited fire protection The chemical engine he believed the best and most satisfactory apparatus as the expense of maintemance is slight.
Chief Hunt, of Seattle, on the subject of Fire department discipline, had an opportunity to tell the other side of the fight in the Seattle Fire Department, the other-having been told by ex-Chief Kellogg, of the same city. He complained that politics is the root of all evil.
A paper on Fire insurance patrol, and the duties of patrolmen was read by the secretary,.in the absence of Captain Comstock, of the insurance patrol of San Francisco.
Chief Cairnes, of San Diego, in a paper on Incendiarism, contended that a well-organized and well-conducted fire department was the best preventjve for incendiarism, provided that overinsurance could be stopped.
The value of chemical engines was the subject which called nearly every chief to his feet. There was unanimous.testimony in favor of the chemical engine. Numerous instances were told of property saved by chemicals or lost by their absence.
A resolution indorsing the chemical engine was presented and unanimously passed.
All subjects having been considered and all business having been concluded, the election of officers was gone into.
Most of the ballots were cast by the secretary, as directed by the convention, the result of the election being the selection of the following officers :
President, D. T. Sullivan of San Francisco; secretary, B. S. Worsley of Astoria; treasurer, Gardner Kellogg of Seattle; first vice-president. Chief Thomas Deasy of Victoria, B. C.; second vice-president, Chief S. L. McClellan of Olympia,Wash.; third vice-president, Chief J. Buchtel of Portland, Ore.; fourth vicepresident, Chief 1). A. Moriarity of Los Angeles; fifth vice-president, Chief D. J. Bolevn of Tucson, A. T.; sixth vice-president, Chief Julius Pearse of Denver, Col.; seventh vicepresident, Chief E. B. Tage of Boise City, Idaho; eighth vice-president, Chief W. Pennison of Virginia. Xev.; ninth vicepresident, Chief E. Wagner of Galveston, Tex. ; tenth vice-president, Chief W. A. Stanton of Salt Lake City, U. T.; eleventh vice-president, F. A. Rodell of Cheyenne, Wvo.; twelfth vice-president, R. S. Mentrum of Missoula, Mont.; thirteenth vice-president, L. A. Skellv of Silver City, X. M.
At the exhibit hall were a dozen or more pieces of fire apparatus. A. B. Caimer, of San Diego, had a small model of a truck just patented by him and designed for use in cities in which fighting fire is hampered by above-ground electric wires. There were patent axles, hydrants, nozzles, hose and other articles used by fire departments. One of the drivers of the Seattle department exhibited a snap for check reins, and Richard Shiite, of San Diego, had a patent bit suitable for fire department horses.
In the evening the pleasure of the convention began, when 200 people, including the chiefs, the fire underwriters of San Francisco, the exempt firemen of the city and many invited guests, sat down to a delightful banquet at the Baldwin hotel, the underwriters being the hosts of the occasion. The banquet room of the hotel was filled completely and the tables were very handsome. At the speaker’s table, on either side of Toastmaster Robert Dickson, chairman of the Fire and Water committee of the underwriters, were Chief Sullivan, W. W. Foote, W. 1). English, (). M. Welburn, II. T. Hazard, Chief Hunt of Seattle ; Chief Lillie, of Tacoma, and Chief Buchtel, of Portland.
After a banquet amply sufficient to satisfy the wants of the most of men. Toastmaster Dickson compelled quiet long enough to bid the chiefs welcome to the board to which they had already done ample justice and to give a short history of fire companies in general.
Between toasts to the health of the firemen, insurance people, underwriters and the Fife Chiefs’ Association, addresses were made by Chief Sullivan, C. A. Laton, W. W. Foote, Chief Deasy of Victoria, ex-Mayor Henry T. Hazard of Los An-, geles, George 1). Dornin, Ed Brown of the Underwriters’ Union, Chief Price of El Paso, Tex., and ex-Chief Walter S. Moore of Los Angeles.
The final session was held Friday morning and after passing the usual resolutions thanking everybody for everything, the meeting adjourned.