Underwriters Warn Against Cut in St. Louis Firemen
A critical situation has developed in St. Louis, Mo., it is reported, as a result of Mayor Kaufmann’s order to Fire Chief Frank Egenreither to slash his department’s expenses $386,000 in an effort to wipe out a threatened city deficit of $4,750,000. The cut, according to the Chief, would mean a layoff of 100 of the city’s firemen.
Instead of reductions in the city’s fire defenses, the Insurance Board of St. Louis recommends additional fire apparatus and more men.
President Russell E. Egan of the AFL Firefighters Local 73, St. Louis said there are 877 firemen in the city today as compared to 980 in 1931. Thirteen fire companies have been discontinued in recent years.
The Insurance Board warns: “with present firefighting equipment and personnel inadequate to protect the city from conflagration, the layoff of 100 city firemen would be catastrophic.”
Meanwhile Director of Public Safety Charles J. Riley advocated passage of an ordinance to require owners of virtually all buildings of three or more floors to employ licensed fire wardens, because of probable curtailment of the fire department’s operations.