The Death of Chief Aungst.

The Death of Chief Aungst.

Many of the readers of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING, especially such as are members of the International Association of Fire Engineers, will learn with sincere and heavy regret of the death of William S. Aungst, late chief of the fire department of Alliance, Ohio, in the forty-third year of his age. He was born at Mansfield, Ohio, on October 9, 1806. After spending a few years at Lima, Akron, East Liverpool and Gabon, he came to Alliance, where just sixteen years ago he organised the Alliance fire department, having previously done the same for Akron. At Alliance he and B. M. French, of Salem, with whom he was then associated, secured a ten-year contract with the city for a fire department and a patrol system. The old hook and ladder truck was converted into an apparatus and one horse was used. The system of street alarms was installed. Later the city purchased the system which included one wagon and two horses. To the untiring efforts of the chief the city is indebted for its thoroughly modern fire department, at which visitors from cities twice the size of Alliance have expressed their surprise at its efficiency and high degree of proficiency. The chief was thoroughly original in all his plans, and not only organised the department, but devised the plans for the apparatus. Few men in the country were better equiped than he for a fire chief, as he understood in detail everything from the working of the fire fighting machines to the electrical engineering necessary to fully install a department. His one ambition was to see the two new stations finished and the automobile equipment installed at Alliance. He was a good working member of the International Association of Fire Engineers, and of various other benefit associations.


His department was small, but ranked as firstclass and was probably nearly, if not quite the best of the small Western departments. His skill as an inventor was exceptional. He secured patents on the telegraph fire signal system, gate Siamese, combination spray-nozzle, a halter-strap device for horses in departments, a playpipeholder, a telephone holder which is being manufactured in Alliance, and many other improvements that have been generally adopted throughout the United States. He was in every way a model chief, strictly just, most considerate of his men and respected by all of them. He was also very popular with his fellow citizens, and with all his brother fire-chiefs. Latterly he was a great sufferer from a complication of diseases. He received a fireman’s funeral and was buried from the First Methodist church, where his body lay in state for some hours. The church was crowded, and hundreds followed the hearse to his grave. The Alliance Leader speaks of him editorially as one who “made a study of his business and was an incessant worker. He had the resoect and admiration of almost every citizen and the warm friendship of those with whom he came in close contact. He died in the prime of life, and his going is regretted by all.”


Captain Arthur Aungst has been selected by the mayor and board of public safety of Alliance, Ohio, to succeed his brother, the late chief. The new chief was born in Mansfield, Ohio, in 1866, and moved thence to Alliance fourteen years ago. He was at once enrolled in the fire department and held the positions of chief’s driver, lineman and driver under his brother, who then practically owned the department. When the city assumed the responsibility of the department and took it over from Chief Aungst, Arthur Aungst was appointed captain and, as an experienced fireman can fittingly be looked upon as one who is in every way the right man to command the firefighting force of Alliance. He has shown his bravery on more than one occasion, and has had more than narrow escape from death—only last week when making his first run as chief in answer to a false alarm he barely missed being struck by a freight train while crossing at a point on the Lake Erie, Alliance & Wheeling railway on Market street, and by his coolness just saved the hose wagon following him from being struck by the train whose coming round a corner was hidden from the firemen. His policy will be to carry out the plans formulated by his late brother, and, as he has always been wedded to his work, there is no doubt that he will keep the department up to the high mark it has already reached.

Chief Arthur Aungst is succeeded as captain by Fireman John Webb, who was the late chief’s driver, and has familiarised himself with the work of a fireman and fire captain by visiting nearly all the large fire departments in the country.

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