STATEMENTS FOUNDED IN ERROR.

STATEMENTS FOUNDED IN ERROR.

We observe that the Spectator was quite severe on our Department in a long article recently published, yet in several instances we must indorse what the Spectator says. We quote:

“There have been several fires in New York during the past few months, which have been more destructive than they should have been, and apparently more destructive than they would have been if the Fire Department had done its duty as promptly and as completely as we have been taught to expect it to do on all occasions, This is true of the Hale piano factory fire in September, notwithstanding the scanty supply of water and the poorly constructed buildings. It is also true of the furniture factory fire in Eighteenth Street, in October. In the case of the Eighteenth Street fire it is noticeable that the fire had gained much more headway than it should have been permitted to do before water i was thrown on it.”

With regard to tho above, wo claim that the Fire Department never worked with more zeal than they did at the above fires. At tho Hale piano factory fire the members were remarkably prompt in reaching the locality, and getting to work ; in fact, their promptness was the subject of general remark among citizens in tho neighborhood. At tho Eighteenth Street fire no one who is cornlatent to judge can justly say that it was not properly worked by tho Department, or that it could have been prevented from making the progress it did. Had the editors of the Spectator been on hand at tho fire, and seen for themselves, they would not cast reflections on our Department in tho instance referred to. But tho Spectator goes OIL to say :

“This may have been the result of delay in giving the alarm, or it -may have been the result of delay on the part of the engines in reaching i the scene of the fire, or it may have been from some other cause. It appears to have been the i result of some confusion and consequent delay in getting at the work after the engines were on , the ground. Though with what the Department | did when once it was fairly at its work we are not disposed to find fault. The serious part of i the business is that so much time was consumed in getting the necessary number of engines to the fire, For, as the Firemen of New York do not need to be told, minutes at the beginning of of a fire arc worth more than hours after it has ! burned half way through the block.”

Now we deny that there was any want of apparatus or any unnecessary delay. At tho very first glance at a burning building tho Firemen are nerved on with a more determined vigor, knowing that there is work boforo them, and every moment is valuable. No one who attends fires, and views with calmness tho movements of tho men, will say that they are any way tardy in tho discharge of their duties. We have mado careful inquiry regarding tho above accusations, and are confident they aro founded in error. But tho Spectator has the following truthful remarks regarding politics in the Fire Service:

“ One of the explanations given for the evident decline in the efficiency of the Fire Department is that partisan politics has touched it with its blighting touch. That capable men who have proved their capability, while they have increased it by long and faithful service, and whose records bear no blot, have been displaced on some plausible pretext to make room for the favorites of a ward politician, who must bestow promised reward for services rendered in the past or promised for the future. If this be true, of course all the blame for inefficiency belongs to those who are responsible for the removal of men known to be competent and faithful, and the appointment in their places of inexperienced men.”

With regard to the removal of the men hy politicians wo regret to say it has been the case for several years back. But we believe that under the present Board no good men will be removed to please politicians. We have now three veterans of the old Volunteer Department forming the Board of Commissioners, all of them Firemen of experience, and they know well when they have got a good Firemen, and they aro loth to loso him. Since the present gentlemen have come into power, they have declined to remove any of the rank and file without causo. They wore besieged before tho lato election to remove certain men, and appoint others in their places, and all at the solicitation of politians; but they refused to comply with the demand, and the public, as well as the Spectator, will , bo gratified to know that no man will be removed in the future except for cause. We heartily approve of the concluding portion of the Spectator’s article, which is as follows:

“ The Fire Department should be officered, manned, equipped, and managed throughout, without any regard to the political views or expressions or preferences of the men conn-, cted with it. Here certainly is a department where the highest degree of skill is desirable, and where skill conies from experience. In many eeportments of municipal government inefficient men may make blunders or cause delay without causing serious damage, because their work can he reviewed hy others who are competent, and their blunders can be corrected ; but the blunders and delays of an inefficient Fireman cannot be corrected. The damage is done, and is irreparable ; the house is burned down ; the merchandise destroyed ; the lives lost, it may be, and the record of the Fireman’s mistake is found in the heap of ashes, the mass of charred flesh, or the handful of burned bones.”

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