THE CHICAGO FIRE INSURANCE PATROL.
The following we Copy from the Argus, an insurance paper published in Chicago:
In 1839 a number of men equipped with hand carts, tarpaulins and canvas covers, were attached to the New York Fire Department for the protection of property from damage by water, smoke, heat and reckless handling at fires, This salvage corps was the pioneer of the present Fire Patrol system now in eight cities of this country. In 1857 a volunteer salvage corps numbering one hundred members was organized in this city under the leadership of Gen. A. C. Ducat, then Secretary of the Board of Underwriters. Ibis corps was apportioned among the three divisions of the city, and until 1861 did good service. The beginning of the civil war, combined with the weak support of the insurance companies, led to the withdrawal of many members and a final disruption. In 1868 Boston organized an insurance Patrol ; Philadelphia in 1869, Chicago in 1871 ; St. Louis, San 1‘rancisco, New Orleans and Newark in subsequent -years in the order named.
In the spring of 1871 the question had been discussed by various members of the Chicago local board and meetings held to consider the formation of a patrol. Gen. C. W. Drew was appointed a committee of one to inquire into the cost and report at a subsequent meeting. On receiving his report, A. C . Ducat, C. W. Drew and Thomas Buckley were appointed, in the summer of the same year, a committee to perfect such an organization, and under the auspices of this committee the Chicago Fire Patrol was organized and made its first appearance on the second day of October, 1871, with temporary headquarters in a barn on the alley between Monroe and Adams, Dearborn and Clark streets. Ben. B. Bullwinkle, a member of the “Long John” engine company of the city Fire Department, had been selected and virtually appointed Captain, in the month of July ; the tact, energy and system displayed by Capt. Bullwinkle has since’made him and the Patrol famous in every State, and well known in foreign lands.
The terrible conflagration seven days afterward seemed for a time to render the continuance of the organization unnecessary and its support almost impossible, since many of the contributing companies had become insol vent, and the future was undecided. However, temporary quarters were found with the Fire Department at America Hose house on Blue Island Avenue until the erection and completion of a frame building on Michigan Avenue near the corner of Jackson street. After the adjustment of the fire losses and Chicago’s future assured, many new companies entering the field, aided in placing the organization upon a permanent basis, and on April 30th, 1872, the Patrol force moved into a spacious brick building at 113 Franklin street built expressly for it by the Chicago Board of Underwriters. Patrol No. 2 was organized 3d August, 1875, with a Captain and foer men, for duty on the West Side, a brick building having been built especially for it on Peoria street near Congress. In 1877-8 the brick building, No. 176 Monroe street, was erected by L. Z. Leiter, but the entire interior work of finishing was done by the members of the Patrol ; Company No. 1 formally opening and occupying the house t6th February, 1878. In the autumn of 1881 the Packers at the Stock Yards furnished a building and entire equipment for a patrol, and paying one-half of the expense ol maintaining the same. This Patrol has entire charge of the watch-clocks of the d fferent packing houses, the whole being under the supervision of Supt. Bullwinkle. Patrol Company No. 1 since organization in 1S71 to 1st January, 1882, had extinguished without the aid of the Fire Department, 232 fires, insurance involved of $10,571,198, with a loss of $14,717. Patrol Company No. 2 since organization in 1875 to 1st January, 1882, extinguished 76 fires, having $211,700 insurance, with a loss of $2917. Patrol Company No. 1 from organization to 1st January, 18S2, had attended 1S68 fires and spread 5597 covers. Patrol Company No. 2 from organization to January 1, 1882, had attended 1207 fires, and spread 1994 covers. The value of building and equipments is estimated at $16,000 and the average annual cost of maintenance has been $22,500. The Chicago Fire Patrol is the model one of the country, and under the motto of its Superintendent—“ Time, speed and execution, ” its time out of the house, speed on the road and execution on arrival at the fire, is unsurpassed in this or any other country.
Benj. B. Bullwinkle, the Superintendent, was born in New York City, in 1847. He came to Chicago in 1855 and joined the Fire Department of this city in 1865, rendering continuous service until called in 1871 to his present position as Chief of the Fire Patrol.
Superintendent Bullwinkle is by nature a Fireman. He instinctively knows just what to do at the right minute. Besides his natural talent for fighting fire, he is a student, an inventive worker, a disciplinarian and a gentleman. Few men possess such admirable qualifications for the post of duty chosen as Supt. Bullwinkle. He has made the Chicago Patrol what it is, and has by inventions, most ingenious and invaluable, and in appliances the most useful, developed a perfection in the Patrol branch of the Fire Service equalled nowhere else upon this continent. All the electrical automatic contrivances to render easy, safe and rapid the movements of men when an alarm is given, are the inventions of Supt. Bullwinkle. Under his direction the building was taken with simply bare walls, and thoroughly finished by the members of the Patrol, who are mechanics of every kind ; thev make and repair their own harness, shoe their own horses, and in fact everything is done within the Patrol to replace the wear and tear of the service. He thinks of nothing but prefection in his department, and he has most certainly approximately, if not entirely, reached it.
The New York Fire Insurance Patrol is divided into four commands, each undercharge of a Captain and Assistant Captain and each is supplied with two wagons and four horses ; also portable fire extinguishers. It also has a steam fire engine to relieve cellars from water. The annual cost of maintenance is $80,000. Philadelphia’s annual cost is $24,000; that of Boston over $25,000 ; St. Louis, $20,000 ; San Francisco, nearly $29,000 ; New Orleans, $22,600 ; Newark $10,000, and Chicago’s annual cost of maintenance $22,500.— The Argus.