TWO DYING FIRE CHIEFS.
The mortal sickness of James R, Elliott, late chief of the fire department of Detroit, Mich., will come home to all his brother chiefs on this continent, who will feel a sense of personal grief when they hear the sad news. In every sense of the word Chief Elliott is a fireman of the firemen, and from the day on which he first entered the service to the present, his watchword has been “Duty.” After having served for fortyfour years in the ranks as a fireman and as a subordinate officer, he was appointed assistant chief of the Detroit fire department on April 1, 1867, to the duties of which office he added in 1877, those of supply agent of the department. In each capacity Chief Elliott displayed exceptional abilities, and his reputation both as a practical and a scientific fireman was so conspicuously high and his fitness for the position so universally recognized, that, on the retirement of the late Chief Battle, he was at once appointed as his successor. Like his predecessor, Chief Elliott, w: ile a thorough disiplinarian, is respected and beloved by officers and men for his strict sense of justice and his warmhearted, genial disposition. Since his advent to the office of chief, he has let no opportunity slip for improving the department, till it has come to the front as one of the best equipped and the best organized in the United States. One of Chief Elliott’s most noticeable characteristics is that he knows no fear in the performance of his duty—a feature which was as conspicuous when he was acting in a subordinate capacity. What he was told to do by his superiors he would do, in spite of everything and every person, and what, as a chief, he considers should be done he will see done to the litter by those whom he commands—will do it himself, even at the risk of his own life. His bravery has always been conspicuous and he bears on his person the indelible marks of daring— honorable scars which become him at least as well as those won on the field of battle. As an instance may he quoted his persistent obedience to his chief’s orders when he was as yet only a foreman. It was in 1865 when a fierce fire was raging in the depot of the Michigan Central railway. Chief Battle ordered him and his company—No. I—on to the Third street end of the fire, whence the flames, fanned by a stiff breeze, were creeping on towards a big frame warehouse across the street. If that once caught, there was no knowing where the fire would stop. Although the heat was so intense that others could not stand it fifty feet away, Foreman Elliott and his four pipemen stayed close by the place till the blaze r/as stopped, as they had been ordered to do. The fire marshal shouted to them (from a respectful distance) to take the hose to the East side of the warehouse ; Elliott shouted back, “ I guess not. We have been told to hold this position.” In vain the firemarshal pretested;Elliott held his ground. Presently the firemarshal reappeared with the mayor of the city, who ordered the party away, only to get back the answer: “I can’t do it. See Chief Battle.” “ Do you know who lam?” shouted the astonished and indignant mayor. “Perfectly well, Sir; you’re the mayor replied Elliott); but I can’t help that. I have orders from Chief Battle, and I can’t leave on orders from you ! ” The mayor—nearly roasted—stood speechless and aghast ; then, recovering himself, cried out that he would have him dismissed the service. Elliott simply answered .
“ If you want me to move, you must get Chief Battle to give such an order.” All this time the boards covering the hose and the doors and shutters held up in front of the pipemen were burning, and the clapboards on the side of the warehouse which the foreman and his men were protecting were so badly scorched and warped that they dropped to the ground ! Rut Elliott received no further orders to move ; the fire did not cross the street ; and he and his four men stopped a conflagration. It was magnificent work. Needless to relate, Elliott was not dismissed from the service.
Chief Elliott’s sickness is caused by trouble with the heart. There seems to be no hope of his recovery.
Since the above was written and just as the paper was on the press, we received the following telegram which it gives us the greatest pleasure to publish: “Detroit, Mich., August 26, to FIRE AND WATER, 14 John street, New York. Chief Elliott is slightly improved. Do not now anticipate serious results. George W. Stockwell, Secretary.”
CHIEF WILLIAM H. HUBBARD.
It is with unfeigned regret that we announce that William H. Hubbard,ot the fire department of New Haven, Conn., is, it is feared, dying in Philadelphia, where he has been for some time lying in a very critical condition, his malady being cirrhosis of the liver. Chief Hubbard succeeded to his position a year ago this month, on the resignation of Chief Kennedy. Previous to his appointment to that office he held that of fire marshal and assistant chief, and in each capacity has well earned the reputation he so worthily enjoys as a thoroughly experienced and intelligent fireman, an able chief, honest official, and a good citizen.
The following telegram was received from New Haven from Chief and Mayor Hendrick:
‘‘NEW HAVEN, CT., Aug. 26, 1898. — F.W. SHEPPERD,FIRE AND WATER, 12 and 16 John street, New York : Doctor today said Hubbard had a fighting chance for recovery.—A. C. HENDRICK.”