PAWTUCKET, R. L, FIRE DEPARTMENT

PAWTUCKET, R. L, FIRE DEPARTMENT

In his inaugural message to the city council of Pawtucket, R. I., Mayor Tiepke refers to the need of fire protection to correspond with the growth of the city in population and residential buildings, and to the absolute necessity of maintaining an efficient fire department. He says that during the past year attention was given to the demands of this recent growth. A fire station and equipment have gone into commission at Fairlawn, while on the easterly side of the city the Central avenue fire station is now in process of erection. The mayor thinks it would be far better policy to approve the efficiency and discipline of the present department rather than to extend it in its present condition. He has been seriously disturbed by the unwise action of some members of the department and also in his observance of marked evidences of disrespect on the part of some members for the chief. He considers the lack of discipline a most serious evil and adds that members of the department have been guily of offences sufficient to warrant either their dismissal from the force or suspension wjth less of pay and fines,, or the imposition of fines or reprimands but no attention whatever has been paid to some of these matters, principally because a fireman is in the same position as a policeman. He cannot be dismissed from service except after a hearing of the board of aldermen on charges preferred, and this department has been no more successful under this plan than has the police department, so that,rather than antagonize the board, these violations have been countenanced and unconsciously encouraged. The mayor argues that the present method of appointing firemen is not wise, and says the same plan recommended for examination of the police department would apply with equal propriety to this department. He suggests that it would not only relieve the monotony of a fireman’s life, but would be the means of rendering desirable service and preventing fire losses if the business section of the city should be established as a fire inspection district, and the permanent men of No. 2 and No. 3 fire sections assigned in regular turn to examine the property in the district, going into the cellars of stores, examining properties, locating boxes, paper, and other combustible material, making a report of their findings in writing to the chief of the department, and he in turn transmitting it to the local board of fire underwriters, who in turn would doubtless require the policy-holders to be more careful in regard to these matters. He also recommends “ the adoption of a system by which the entire hydrant service of the city shall be rtgularly examined by the permanent members of the department, for when the department of public works finds fifteen hydrants broken as the result of a single inspection, it should IK* construed as a significant warning to the officials in command of the fire service.” The mayor also calls attention to the friction caused by the provision of the ordinances of the city requiring that at each engine house a permanent man shall act as superintendent of the house and equipment and says: “ The condition of affairs in this department is such that I earnestly urge the city council to take up these matters promptly in a fair and impartial spirit.”

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