Persons in the News
W. E. Mallalieu to Retire Dec. 31
W. E. Mallalieu, the “grand old man of the fire insurance business,” who has been associated with the National Board of Fire Underwriters for 50 years, and its general manager since 1910, will retire from active duty with the National Board on Dec. 31, 1950, it was announced Oct. 13 by W. Ross McCain, president of the Board.
He will be succeeded by Lewis A. Vincent, who has been head of the National Board’s Actuarial Bureau since 1945. Mr. Vincent, a West Point graduate, has been associated with the Board, since 1929 and served as assistant to the general manager from 1942 to 1945.
“For a round half century Mr. Mallalieu has been one of the most constructive and beneficial influences in our business,” said Mr. McCain. “He has been a leader in the expansion of the public services of fire insurance through the National Board and other organitions such as the world renowned Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc.
“High standards of fire protection and fire safety are due in large measure to his vision, foresight and energy through the past 50 years. The fire insurance business and our nation have been fortunate in having a man of his extraordinary ability devote these many years to saving lives and improving the public services of the fire insurance business to the public.
“We are fortunate in having as his successor a man trained by him on his high standards and sharing his high ideals.”
Mr. Vincent was born in Meriden, Conn., in 1905, and attended Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., before his appointment to West Point. During the war he was advisory fire protection engineer and consultant to the War Department in Washington, D. C. Since 1945 he has been in charge of the National Board’s Actuarial Bureau, which gathers statistics on fire losses and fire insurance for member companies, State insurance departments and fire marshals.
Mr. Mallalieu joined the National Board of Fire Underwriters on Dec. 9, 1900, when the organization had only six employees. His first dutieg were
those of an electrical inspector. Under his direction the National Board has become one of the nation’s leading public service organizations, with its engineering, research and testing activities devoted to improving the fire protection of the nation. Its membership com-
prises 200 capital stock fire insurance companies and it has 365 employees operating from its New York, Chicago and San Francisco offices.
He was born in 1874 in Jersey City, N. J., in the Mallalieu family homestead which still stands. He attended Hasbrouck Academy, Jersey City, and later attended Wilbraham Academy, Wilbraham, Mass. Although 59 years have passed since his graduation, his interest in Wilbraham has never weakened. For the past 30 years he has been a member of the board of trustees and for 8 years he was president of the board.
In 1897 he was graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N. J., as a mechanical engineer. He worked for the Worthington Pump Co. and the Western Electric Co. before joining the National Board of Fire Underwriters in 1900.
For six years he served as an electrical inspector in the suburban field. His territory was extensive for horse and buggy days; he covered Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties in New York State and Northern New Jersey. In 1906 he was placed in charge of the National Board’s engineering department, and in 1910 he succeeded the late Henry K. Miller as general agent. Later the title was changed to general manager.
Under Mr. Mallalieu’s direction, the National Board has widened its activities to cover almost every phase of the fire prevention and fire insurance field.. The engineering surveys of American cities, to detect conflagration hazards, which were started after the Baltimore conflagration of 1904, have been expanded ; at present 470 U. S. cities are inspected periodically by the Board’s engineers. An arson department was organized and now has special agents in all 48 States to cooperate with local officials in investigating incendiary and suspicious fires.
A law department, which keeps track of legislative matters affecting fire insurance, an actuarial bureau which gathers statistics on the hundreds of thousands of fires occurring annually, a research division which studies new fire hazards in industry, and a public relations department which disseminates information on fire prevention and insurance to the public have been been organized under his direction.
He has been a force in the promotion of better building construction throughout the country. Under his direction, successive editions of the National Board’s model building code have been published, the latest being in 1949. This model code, the first published in America, has been the basis for the building laws of most U. S. cities. During the past year he has taken the leadership in bringing together the sponsors of other model building codes in an effort to get wider agreement and unification on building code principles.
He directed the organization of the National Board’s Committee on Adjustments, which has played an important role in the arbitration of differences over claim settlements by insurance companies. He developed the National Board’s “Catastrophe Plan,” a procedure enabling fire insurance companies to bring quick aid to stricken communities after major disasters such as explosions, fires and hurricanes. The “Catastrophe Plan” was used with great effectiveness after the Texas City explosion of April, 1947, when more than 3,000 property owners suffered losses.
Served in Both World Wars
In both World Wars, Mr. Mallalieu served his country as a dollar-ayear man, bringing his specialized knowledge of fire protection to help safeguard the nation’s military and naval establishments. In World War I he was affiliated with the Fire Prevention and Protection Division of the War Industries Board. In the Second World War he directed fire prevention and protection for the Corps of Engineers of the War Department; the Bureau of Yards and Docks of the Navy Department; and the Fire Protection Division of the Coast Guard.
For 40 years he has served on the Board of Trustees of Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., the non-profit testing organization sponsored by the National Board of Fire Underwriters, and he is secretary of its investment and banking committee. He is also a director of the Sanborn Map Co., which prepares maps widely used in the insurance business
He is a past president of the National Fire Protection Association, serving in 1921 and 1922. He is an honorary life member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and carries the badge of an honorary deputy chief of the Jersey City, N. J., fire department.
Mr. Mallalieu married Grace Emory Tilden in 1905 and they have two sons, both in the insurance business. Wilbur E. Mallalieu, Jr., is with the Glens Falls Insurance Co., Glens Falls, N. Y., and John T. Mallalieu is with the Fidelity and Casualty Co., in New York City.”
Chief Jos. A. Kirby Retires
Joseph A. Kirby, for 42 years a member of the Dayton Fire Department, and for the past 11 years its energetic head, retires on November 16 for reasons of health. The 78-year-old veteran fire fighter voluntarily took the step to “give him a chance to relax and build up his health, and play with his grandchildren.”
Chief Kirby saw the Dayton Fire Division grow from the era of the horsedrawn steamer and meager facilities to its present state symbolized by mechanized equipment, scientific fire-fighting methods and a well-trained force of 300 men. His mind kept pace with the developments, and he has pioneered not a few of them. During his e.ra as chief, Dayton acquired a high order of fire protection as evidenced by the city’s low insurance rates and the esteem with which the department is held nationally as well as locally.
Chief Kirby was appointed firemanengineer in April. 1908, advanced to lieutenant in March 1918, to captain in January, 1920, and district chief in December, 1923, in which capacity he, served until his promotion to chief in 1939.
Professionally, Chief Kirby is past president of the Ohio Fire Fighters, prominent in the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and active in the Central Western Firemen’s Association. He is married and. with Mrs. Kirby, celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary in February, 1948. They have four children.
Chief Kirby’s successor will be named soon, according to City Manager Russell E. McClure. Assistant Fire Chief Forrest R. Lucas, who has been acting for Chief Kirby at recent meetings of the City Commission and staff conferences, is in line for the promotion. So too. is Assistant Chief Dowell Fulford another veteran of the service. Lucas is a veteran of World War 1. and. with Fulford. was made assistant chief in 1948 when two such posts were created.
Chief Krusenklaus Lauded
It isn’t often that local newspapers devote large space to eulogizing their municipal fire chiefs while the latter are still alive. Usually they have to die before they receive the flowers—if they receive them then.
An exception is the Louisville Courier-Journal, one of the nation’s leading newspapers, which recently ran a feature story about Louisville’s Fire Chief “Colonel” John Krusenklaus.
Krusenklaus is no armchair chief and his enterprise has resulted in a sharp cut in insurance rates and the upping of the City to among the first 10 of the 3000 municipalities in fire prevention and protection for the past 15 years.
The present Chief joined the department in 1934, within a year being sent to the Kentucky fire school and then to Detroit to study model fire prevention methods. After that came the first real efforts to educate local citizens to stop fires before they start. He organized the first fire prevention bureau and started the inspection of buildings on a broad scale. In 1949 the Bureau made 6,792 inspections, investigated 309 fires of unknown origin, issued 1448 orders for removal of hazards, and supplied evidence for prosecution of 59 violators of fire regulations.
When Krusenklaus was promoted to assistant chief in 1941 and then to chief in 1943, he continued to devote much of his time to fire prevention. The story then goes on to recount how the chief is “all business”—sticks on the
job, passes up vacations and sports, and lives a sort of nomadic home life—all for a salary at least $1200 less than the average for chiefs of departments for cities the size of Louisville.
Chief Berkholtz Retires
Assistant Fire Chief W. C. Berkholtz, for 42 years a member of the Fresno, Calif., Fire Department, retired from active duty on his 74th birthday, Nov. 16th last.
Chief Berkholtz joined the department in 1908 as extra man. Three years later he became in rapid succession acting lieutenant, lieutenant and acting captain. In 1913 he was advanced to assistant chief.
Chief Berkholtz was appointed Fresno’s first fire marshal, creating the fire prevention bureau. He developed the Fresno type of fire hydrant and a new type nozzle shut-off, together with a clip and metal strap device foy securing equipment to fire apparatus, doing away with the old buckle and strap.
One of the Chief’s sons, Helmer, was killed in a fire apparatus accident in 1943. The chief plans to follow his hobby of horticulture, in his leisure days.