THEATRE FIREMEN IN PROVIDENCE.
The Board of Fire Commissioners of Providence, R. I., recently received notice of the approval by Governor Beeckman of an act passed by the General Assembly governing the employment of firemen in theatres, which provides that in that city theatre owners shall hire their own firemen and the custom of detailing regular department members shall be discontinued. This act, which was passed at the request of the City Council, will release 20 or 25 firemen from theatre duty and make them available for regular department service. The change will be the equivalent of adding this number of men to the department, and will materially strengthen many of the stations which are now short handed. The Fire Commissioners are preparing to put the measure into effect. Secretary Morrow, of the board, said that no date had been set for beginning the new plan, but that it would be put into operation as soon as possible. There are 17 theatres in Providence where firemen have to be stationed in accordance with the old law. Several of these theatres require two men. Under the new act these men will go back to their stations and the theatre owners will be obliged to hire their own men. The act provides that no man for fire duty shall be hired by a theatre, except on approval of the Fire Commission, which also has virtual control over his activities. No man so hired can be discharged by a theatre without the consent of the commission, although the commission can itself remove a man for sufficient cause. The measure provides, further, that men so employed shall do no other work, except that as assigned them of fire inspection. Theatre owners, who have been paying $2 a day for the services of the regular firemen, will have to bear the entire expense of hiring their new men. The money received from theatre duty by the regular department men has been turned into the firemen’s pension fund. There will be no additions to the fund drom this source when the new plan is operative, which will mean that the city council will have to make an annual appropriation .from the tax levy in order to keep the fund up to the necessary total.