TIMELY TOPICS FEATURE MEETING OF PACIFIC CHIEFS’ ASSOCIATION
Outstanding Display of Fire Apparatus and Equipment Provided; Demonstrations Prove an Interesting Feature
THE Fifty-Fourth Annual Convention of the Pacific Coast Inter-Mountain Association of Fire Chiefs in Pasadena, Calif., set new records in enthusiasm, attendance, business sessions and entertainment, according to FIRE ENGINEERING’S Western correspondent. The dates, Sept. 18 to 21 inclusive, made it possible for many of the Chiefs to attend both the Pacific Coast sessions and the New Orleans Conference of the International on the 26-29th, a special train leaving Pasadena on Thursday noon for New Orleans.
Fire Chief William Meinheit of Berkeley, Calif., opened the Conference on Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Municipal Auditorium, Green St. and Garfield Ave. in Pasadena, at 10:00 A.M. A Board of Directors meeting was held at 11 :00 A.M.
After a musical prelude by the Pasadena College Bulldog Band, the official Tournament of Roses musical organization, Rabbi Max Vorspan gave the Invocation, following which the Band led in the National Anthem. The soloist was Karen Larsen and the Director of the Band is Audre Stong.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was led by Chief Louis Ledford of Palo Alto, Calif., President California State Firemen’s Association. Then came the address of welcome to the delegates by the Honorable A. Ray Benedict, Mayor, City of Pasadena. This was ably responded to by Fire Chief John H. Alderson of Los Angeles, Calif.
To Chief C. L. Bolz, Host Chief, fell the honor of introducing the many notable guests, after which President Meinheit delivered his “accounting of stewardship” which found the Association in excellent condition.
The impressive memorial services for the departed members opened with an organ prelude by Gene Sullivan, Musical Instructor, Pasadena City College, followed by an address by Rev. Eugene Carson Blake, Pastor, Pasadena Presbyterian Church.
At noon the delegates and guests participated in a stag get-together luncheon at the Green Hotel at which Jay Stevens presided. The afternoon was given over to drills and demonstrations at the Drill Ground south of the Rose Bowl. This was participated in by firemen and equipment from Los Angeles County, Arcadia, South Gate, Pasadena, Alhambra Los Angeles, Muroc Air Base, and exhibitors of the Conference.
Tuesday’s sessions were loaded with business. The first topic was handled by Chief C. J. Eisenbacher, Tacoma, Wash., who was introduced by Chief J. L. Stevenson of Stockton. Calif. Chief Eisenbacher took for his subject “Fire Department Administrative Planning.”
Harry J. Boyle, General Adjustment Bureau, Inc., of San Francisco, spoke on “On What Basis Are Fire Insurance Adjustments Made? Can the Fire Chief Be of Assistance? Do Insurance Agents Encourage the Policy Holders and Adjusters in Making Loss Adjustments Over and Beyond the Actual Losses?”
A pertinent topic “How the Police and Fire Departments can Better Understand Each Other for the Betterment of Themselves and the Various Cities They Represent” was given by Police Chief J. B. Holstrom, of Berkeley.
Robert Coop, City Administrator of Inglewood, Calif., spoke on “Personnel Relations in the Fire Service and How it Affects the Other City Departments.”
The Aquacade Luncheon at the Huntington Hotel Terrace was followed, at 2:30 P.M., by afternoon business sessions, presided over by Chief William Fitzgerald of Seattle, Wash., First VicePresident.
An interesting paper on “How the City of San Francisco Conducts its Fire Training Program” was delivered by Chief Edward Walsh of that city.
The next subject “Necessity of Interdepartmental Co-operation in the Fire Department; and Fire District Taxes” was presented by the Honorable Raymond V. Darby, Supervisor, Los Angeles County.
“Arson as a Weapon of War” was the subject discussed by Special Agent W. C. Skousen of the FBI. The final topic of the afternoon was “Applied Psychology in the Fire Service” and it was handled by John Rathmell, Pasadena City Schools.
Wednesday’s business sessions, with Chief Meinheit presiding, included the following topics and speakers: “Fire Prevention Inspection Methods,” by Senior Inspector Robert W. Gain, Burbank, Calif.; “How a City Manager Views the Fire Department Budget,” by Robert McCurdy, Assistant City Manager of Pasadena; “Fire Departments Should be Prepared for a Shock,” by Chief William Fitzgerald, of Seattle, Wash.; “Aircraft Fires; Protection and Prevention,” by Chief Leslie M. Button, Victorville Air Force Base, Victorville, Calif.; “The Problems of a Newly Appointed Fire Chief,” by Chief Gayle V. Coger, Fresno, Calif.; “Fire Department Press Relations,” by Chief C. L. Bolz; “The Number One Phase of Fire Control,” by Chief J. T. Caldwell, Ellensburg, Wash.; “What the Chief of Los Angeles Thinks of Volunteer and Small City Fire Chiefs,” by Chief John Alderson; and “How Can a Fire Chief Prepare His City for an Underwriters Survey?”, by Chief David Glines, South Gate, Calif.
Election of Officers
Following these heavy business sessions the annual business of the Association was transacted on Thursday ending with a reception at 7:30 P.M. in the Hotel Huntington, given by the Pasadena Fire Department, after which came the annual banquet in the same hotel, the speaker being Dr. James Whitcomb Brougher, Jr.
The high point of the final day’s business was the election of the officers for the coming year. Those chosen were: President, Chief William Fitzgerald, Seattle, Wash.; First Vice-President, Chief William Taylor, Burbank, Calif.; Second Vice-President, Chief Wm. Batchelor, Pendleton, Ore., and Secretary-Treasurer, Ex-Chief Jay Stevens, San Francisco.
Directors chosen for the ensuing year include: Chief William Meinheit, Berkeley, Calif.; Chief Jack Marsten, Stanford University, and Chief Chas. Eisenbacher, Tacoma, Wash.
New York Salvage Men Lose Lives in Building Collapse
Two members of New York City’s Fire Patrol, operated by the New York Board of Fire Underwriters, lost their lives early on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 15, 1949, when the old structure in which they were operating collapsed suddenly, burying them in the debris. They were Daniel P. Shea and Frederick C. Lehmann, both members of Fire Patrol No. 3, 240 W. 30th St., Manhattan.
They had reported with their Section in response to an alarm of fire from Box 576, Sixth and 17th St. at 11:59 P.M. on the 14th, and with fellow patrolman William Haack, were ordered to spread salvage coveys over material on the lower floor while firemen were operating lines above them in an effort to control a fire that was involving the upper stories.
The building, at 21 W. 17th St., was a five-story re-built residence 25 x 90 ft., of uncertain age. Of brick and wood joist construction, it had a new false front and the year had large bay windows of ancient vintage.
The structure had a mixed occupancy, with luncheonette and barber shop in the basement, printing on the first floor, miscellaneous stocks on the second; clothing on the third and cardboard stock on the fourth.
The fire is said to have originated on the second floor but, on arrival of firemen, it appeared centered on the third floor and it was to this location that twenty firemen under Acting Battalion Chief James Maloney of the 7th Battalion worked their way with hose lines, while fellow firemen laddered the structure, and attacked the fire from other vantage points.
At about 12:30 A.M. the building shook, and all five floors fell into the basement, leaving only a single staircase standing. The firemen working on the third floor were saved when Acting Chief Maloney (Eng. 34) sensed the impending danger and shouted a warning for the men to drop their lines and get out of the structure. As the last man reached the street the building crumbled.
The salvage men were trapped in the wreckage but Salvageman Haack, his ribs crushed, was able to crawl into the hallway where he was rescued and removed to St. Vincent’s Hospital.
The crash came after heavy volumes of water had been directed into the upper stories from hand lines, the water tower and deck pipes. Assistant Chief Guinee, who had responded earlier upon receipt of notification that “all hands” were in fighting the fire, ordered a second alarm at 12:48 A.M., and Fire Chief Peter Loftus was en route to the fire when the collapse occurred. Upon his arrival he took charge of the work of attempting to rescue the two victims.
At 12:48 A.M. pressure on the high pressure service was raised to 150 from 125 pounds and a little later Fire Department Ambulance 1, was special called, followed between 1 :31 and 1 :42 A.M. by special calls for Ladders 24, 7, 9 and 21. Fire Alarm headquarters at the same time re-located Ladders 4 (in 24) 22 (in 21) and 1 (in 9).
At 3:25 A.M., the rolling canteen was called to the scene as weary firemen dug frantically for the missing Salvagemen. Extra men were brought in from other Boroughs as the workers needed relief, but the precarious condition of the wreckage made the rescue efforts difficult and dangerous. About 70 firemen labored through the night, aided by flood and search lights, some standing waist deep in water, removing beams timers and merchandise. Holes were broken through the adjoining building at No. 23, and pumps were put to work to draw off the accumulated water in the basement.
Patrolman Lehmann’s body was recovered at 4:40 P.M. and Shea’s at 11:15 P.M., nearly a day after the first alarm. The Superintendent of the New York Fire Patrol is William A. Espey. The officer in command of Patrol 3 at the time of the fire was Sergeant Campbell. His men had spread 42 covers prior to the crash.
The fire companies operating on the fire were: Engs. 14, 18, 72 and 3; Ladders 12 and 3; Rescue 1, and Water Tower 2, with an Acting Deputy Chief of the 3rd Division, and Acting Battalion Chief of the 7th and Battalion Chief of the 6th Battalions. On the Second Alarm: Engs. 1, 5, 24 and 16; Ladder 5. Ladders 24, 7, 9 and 21; Searchlight 21; the Field Canteen and Fuel Wagon 12.