The Reading Fire Department
The report of the New York Research Bureau on the Reading, Pa., fire department, made some time ago to the Reading Chamber of Commerce, has just been made public. Its recommendations for the proposed paid department of Reading are mostly New York fire department methods and ideas. The report contains praise for the enthusiasm of the volunteer firemen, but condemns volunteer methods and says that paid fire service is better than volunteer. The National Board of Fire Underwriters in their report on the fire service of the largest cities of the United States for ten years, from 1900 to 1910, place the per capita loss of Reading for those ten years, the lowest of them all, 94 cents. The live largest were San Francisco, $4.74; New Orleans, $4.27; Portland, Ore., $3.98; Kansas City, $3.88. and Boston, $3.56. A mass meeting will be held in the Academy of Music, April 23, to protest against the adoption ot the paid system, which will be conducted by a committee of citizens. The petition for theinitiative and referendum will be opened for signatures on April 27. The volunteer companies have adopted resolutions condemning the methods of the City Council in their efforts to have the paid department established. Some of them claim that “the City Council has overstepped their authority in the hiring of outsiders, at the expense of taxpayers, tocondemn the volunteer system by incurring an additional expense of $100,000; that having been insulted by council. Chamber of Commerce and the New York Bureau of Research, they have resolved that they will do duty as long as their charter calls for it; that they condemn outsiders who have heaped insult and abuse on them; also that they believe the amount of money involved in a change might be used to better advantage; that they invite investigation of the characters of the firemen, and that they do absolutely refuse to recommend any member for the appointment on the paid department.” Reading newspapers claim that the paid department is practically defeated, for this year at least, and that the methods employed to bring about its adoption have killed it and that if it had been done properly by Reading people instead of by outside interests and a proper and suitable plan had been presented, it would have been endorsed by the 5,000 volunteers of the city and its establishment would have been certain. It is claimed that the report of the New York Bureau of Research sealed the fate of a paid department for the present.