Persons in the News

Persons in the News

Kehoe With Atomic Energy Commission

Edward J. Kehoe, who has for some time held the position of Fire Marshal for the Third Naval District and administered the post-war safety reorganization of Naval installations in that area, has become associated with the office of New York Directed Operations, U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, as Fire Prevention and Safety Engineer.

As a naval officer during the late war, Mr. Kehoe worked on developing the equipment and technique involved in combating the problems of fire at sea. Prior to naval duty, he spent five years with the New York Fire Department and assisted in the organizing and planning of the City’s wartime defenses. He received an engineering degree from Manhattan College.

Mr. Kehoe conducts the course in fire protection engineering in the Graduate School of Engineering at New York University and is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Safety Council, American Society of Safety Engineers, Veterans of Safety and the National Fire Protection Association.

District Advances Nine

The District Commissioners, Washington, D. C., promoted nine District firemen in August to fill vacancies caused by retirements. Heading the list of appointees recommended by Fire Chief Clement Murphy is Battalion Chief Percy A. Davis, named Deputy Chief Engineer of the Fire Department, to succeed Chief Frank G. Berry who retired September 1.

Captain George J. Kite is promoted to Battalion Chief, succeeding Battalion Chief W. C. Rees who also retired September 1. Named to fill the vacancy left by Chief Davis was Captain Alfred M. Grunwell. Promoted to Captains, replacing Kite and Grunwell were Lieutenants William F. Brown and John P. Damskey; from sergeants to lieutenants were William H. Yonce and George W. Quinn. Privates Albert O. Reeder and Robe.rt F. Sutphin are advanced to sergeants.

Chief Davis, thirty-six years in the department, will receive $6,894 annually. He has held his rank of Battalion Chief since January 1, 1945. Chief Grunwell has been with the department since 1925 and he is the author of the widely accredited D.C.F.D. Pump Manual. He will receive $6,242 in his new post. Chief Kite, a fireman for twenty-eight years, has received several commendations and was active in organizing the department rescue squads. He will also move up to $6,242 salary.

Carroll Elected President of Sprinkler Association

William J. Carroll, President of the Rockwood Sprinkler Company, was elected unanimously to head the National Automatic Sprinkler and Fire Control Association at its recent quarterly meeting in New York. He succeeds the late Russell Grinnell, Chairman of the Board of Grinnell Corporation, Providence, R. I., who had been president of the Association for many years.

T. Seddon Duke, Secretary-Treasurer of the Star Sprinkler Corporation of Philadelphia, Penn., was elevated to the First Vice Presidency and James D. Fleming, President of the Grinnell Corporation, Providence, R. I., was elected Second Vice-President of the organization.

Miss Anna D. Bosch continues as Secretary-Treasurer and A. G. Woelfel, President of the H. G. Vogel Company, New York, as Assistant Treasurer.

The National Automatic Sprinkler and Fire Control Association is fully representative of the entire automatic sprinkler industry and through its business and technical committees is promoting closer cooperation with all those interested in fire prevention and fire protection, that the increasing fire loss may be minimized.

Buff Becomes Fire Commissioner

San Francisco’s newest fire commissioner, Robert H. Schaefer, who was appointed to office April 9, 1948, by Mayor Elmer Robinson, is widely known in the Bay area as an ardent fire buff. He brings to his new duties a specialized knowledge of the city’s fire service, which has grown out of his long and intimate association with the fire department.

The new commisssioner has been a member of the Phoenix Society, the local buff’s organization for fifteen years, during which time he never missed a working fire to which he was able to respond.

Chief Braafen Dies

William A. Braaten, 61, Assistant Chief of the Tacoma Fire Department Tacoma, Wash., died July 25, 1948, of cerebral hemorrhage. He was widely known among Pacific Coast fire fighters through his 39 year membership in the department.

Chief B.raaten was a member of the Tacoma 50-Year Club, the Order of Eastern Star, Clover Lodge of Masons, AOUW Lodge, Scottish Rites bodies and Afifi temple of Shrine, and Fire Fighters union, local 31. Surviving are his wife Pauline, and a sister and a brother.

Deputy Chief Meets Untimely Death

Deputy Fire Chief Lorenz A. Dolle, 63, of the Baltimore, Md., Fire Department, met an untimely death in one of those unusual kind of accidents that occur in the fire service.

Edward Lane, a 39-year-old colored “preacher,” clad in pajamas, who went hysterical on the rooftop of a three-story East Baltimore dwelling on McElderry street, and preached an incoherent sermon, attracting a crowd of over 1,000 people, brought police and fire services after spectators feared he would lose his balance and fall from the roof.

Police and other efforts to induce Lane to descend failed. When officers tried to get onto the roof, he kicked at them. Firemen were then summoned and a ladder raised to the top of the building. The “preacher” then started to descend, coming down face forward, still shouting and gesticulating.

Deputy Chief Dolle. fearing that the man would lose his balance, climbed up the ladder toward him. Lane warned the Chief not to approach him. Then, when Chief Dolle reached the level of his feet, Lane kicked the officer on the shoulder, knocking him to the street, 25 feet below.

Fellow firemen rushed the Chief to the hospital where he died several hours later of a compound fracture of the skull. The colored man remained motionless on the ladder while firemen rushed to aid their superior. Meanwhile, policemen and firemen blocked Lane s escape back to the roof. Firemen then lowered the ladder with Lane still clinging to it, until police grabbed him and brought him down to the street.

Chief Dolle had been a member of the Baltimore Fire Department since 1909. He was assigned to the eastern section of the city. Lane, it was disclosed, had previously been confined in Crownsville State Hospital.

R. J. Zahm Dead

Robert J. Zahm, 71, retired Buffalo, N. Y., Deputy Fire Commissioner, died in that city, July 14, 1948, after a short illness. Deputy Commissioner Zahm, a veteran of 44 years’ service, retired in 1943.

His rise in Buffalo fire ranks was consistent. Appointed a substitute fireman in April, 1899, he became a full-time fireman on August 1, 1900. Zahm rose to junior captain on June 1, 1909, to captain in 1915, and one year later was appointed a battalion chief. On March 28, 1933, the then Commissioner William R. Castimore appointed him deputy fire commissioner.

R. J. Zahm

Born and educated in Buffalo, Zahm trained at the New York Fire Department School, while a captain in the Buffalo department. He returned to head the newly organized Buffalo Fire Department Drill School. Zahm directed the construction of a drill tower and himself conducted a school for officers.

During his many years in the Buffalo Department, Zahm was injured four times. In 1917 he was injured at the Elk St. Market fire, and one year later was severely injured during a fire at the National Aniline Chemical Company.

While deputy fire commissioner, he received a heart injury when his auto overturned following a collision with another vehicle. The accident occurred while he was en route to a fire.

In September, 1942, his right leg was amputated as a result of injuries he sustained at a fire in a downtown cafe.

Throughout his career he was known for his steel nerves. In 1934, an explosion in a grain and malt plant trapped 12 firemen, including one of Zahm’s sons. With his characteristic coolness during an emergency, and despite his son’s predicament, he directed rescue operations. Eleven of the 12 firemen, including his son, were rescued. The son, Paul G., is now a junior captain. Another son, Robert J. Zahm, Jr., is a Seventh Battalion Chief.

In 1929, a third son, Raymond C., also a fireman, was killed while fighting a multiple alarm fire in the International Railway Company’s Cold Spring barns.

Fire Marshal F. A. Starkel Killed

Frank A. Starkel, 47, Deputy State Fire Marshal for Connecticut, was fatally injured in an explosion at the Edward Balf Construction Company’s quarry at Newington, Conn., on July 19.

Lieut. Starkel, one of three men hurt in the blast, died at Hartford Hospital as the results of injuries he received when a piece of flying rock struck him. State Police Commissioner Edward J. Hickey disclosed that Lieut. Starkel, an investigator for the special hazards and explosives division of the State Police Department, was at the quarry observing a “routine blast.” The violence of the explosion is believed to have been caused by an overcharge of explosives used in the blasting.

The Deputy Fire Marshal died in the Hartford Hospital several hours after the explosion. An autopsy performed disclosed that Lieut. Starkel died of internal bleeding. He had two ribs broken and a ruptured spleen.

Lieut. Starkel was born in East Hartford, July 4. 1903. He joined the State Police Department, May 20, 1925. He became motion picture theater inspector of special hazards and explosives.

He was promoted to Lieutenant, October 1, 1942, and named Deputy Fire Marshal. He also acted as liaison officer between the Fire Marshal’s office and local fire chiefs and wardens and during World War II was Fire Coordinator for the State War Council.

State Police Lieutenant Adolph Pastore, a member of the Connecticut State Police Department since March 3, 1930, has been named to succeed the late Lieutenant Starkel by State Police Commissioner Edward J. Hickey. Lieutenant Pastore has been attached to the Special Service Division and attained the rank of Lieutenant June 17, 1947.

Appointments and Promotions

NEW CASTLE, Pa.—New appointments effective July 1, 1948, in the New Castle Fire Department are: Chief, Herman F. Steinbrink (succeeding the late Chief James Thomas); 1st Asst. Chief, Norman A. McFarland, and 2nd Asst. Chief, William E. Bowen.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Promotion of three members of the Ann Arbor Fire Department, effective July 1, 1948, was announced by Fire Chief Benjamin Zahm: From captain to 1st asst, chief, vacant since the retirement of Herman Kruse: Ernest W. Heller, a member of the department since 1924. To. captain. Edward F. Zeeb; to lieutenant, Paul H. Wenk.

LOWELL, Mass.—Capts. George W. Nickerson and James F. Grantz have been appointed assistant chiefs of the * Lowell, Mass. Fire Department, by Fire Chief Charles F. Stackpole, it was announced early in August. The two officers topped the current civil service list.

PARADISE, Cal.—Elmer Kerr is Chief of Paradise, Butte County, Cal., Fire Department.

CHESTER, Cal.—Gene M. Martime is Assistant Chief, Chester Fire Department. VICTOR BARTLEY


LEWISTON, Me.—High honors were paid the late Fire Captain William Labonte, 47, for 25 years a member of the Lewiston Fire Department, who died in May. He joined the department in 1901, became call man in 1923; was appointed permanent fireman in 1925, and advanced to lieutenant in 1934, and captain in 1940. In the eulogy by Fire Chief Zephirin F. Drouin of the Lewiston department, “Captain Labonte was an excellent officer, a true fireman to the last minute of his life.”


PLYMOUTH, MASS.—Henry W. Walton. ! former fire commissioner of Plymouth. Mass., and widely known in New England fire circles, died in August. The Fire Chiefs’ Club of Massachusetts participated in the funeral services, held on August 16th in Plymouth.


SHAWNEE, OKLA.—W. W. Wicker, for | over twenty-seven years a member of the Shawnee Fire Department, during twenty-one years of which he served as chief, has retired on pension. His successor is Sam Riley.

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