Politics and Fire Safety in New York
A bill with a distinctly political object in view, has recently been passed by the Board of Aldermen of New York City, having for its purpose the reduction in the size of the Board of Standards and Appeals from thirteen to eight members and which contains a provision making it possible to substitute, at the will of the fire commissioner, a chief officer above the rank of battalion chief in place of the chief of the fire department, as a member of the board, It is this last provision which gives the bill its political significance.
Jn a hearing before Mayor Hylan on this hill Chief Kenlon stated that fully 80 per cent of the cases considered by the hoard involved building fire hazards. In view of this significant statement, and the fact that Chief Kenlon has courageously stood out for a strict enforcement of the law in all matters of fire prevention, without fear or favor, the turning over of this hoard to political influence, which has been prevented heretofore, is particularly reprehensible. This new law, giving the fire commissioner power to appoint another in place of C hief Kenlon, thus opens the way for the kind of political manipulation that no man of Chief Kenlon’s calibre would tolerate.
It would seem, however, that the powers-that-be, even with the leeway this law gives, will hardly be so shortsighted, even politically, as to remove from the Board a man whose capability and unquestioned honesty of purpose have done so much to keep the world’s greatest city safe from fire.
In another column is published an appeal made by the International Association of hire Engineers, through its secretary. Chief Mulcahey, for funds to relieve the distress of Chief Albert Herring and two other members of the Murphysboro, III., fire department. The terrible tornado which visited Illinois and other nearby states last March completely wrecked the home in which the life savings of the chief were invested. 1 here is no doubt that this appeal, than which it would be hard to find a more worthy cause, will meet with quick and generous response by the fire departments throughout the land. Already the Illinois Firemen’s Association has done splended work in bringing the matter to the attention of its members, and now that the I. A. F. E. has made a more general appeal, it should be only a matter of a short time when Chief Herring and his fellow sufferers in the Murphysboro department will again be placed upon their feet.