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CITY & VICINITY – Fire Engineering

CITY & VICINITY – Fire Engineering




The Hayes Truck and Fire Escape, now familiarly known throughout the New York Fire Department, was once more exhibited last Saturday morning, in the presence of President King, Commissioners Gorman and Van Cott, Assistant Chief Shay, several Chiefs of Battalions, and various other officers and members of the Department. The trial was made on the building No. 577 Broadway, opposite the Metropolitan Hotel, at eleven o’clock. Although not satisfactory as far as time was concerned, the exhibition was undoubtedly effectual in convincing all present of the admirable principles involved in the construction of the apparatus. Better time has been made, though, in previous exhibitions. The ladder can be raised from the Truck, wheeled about andjengthened, and lowered into position against the building in 45 seconds, when properly handled. On Saturday this remarkable time was prolonged owing to the need of competent workmen, the bands employed having had very little previous experience. The particular Truck employed measured 4a feet from stem to stern; the ladder, as it rested upon the Truck, was 48 feet and when extended to its utmost capacity measured 84 feet. The building was probably 75 feet high. The ladder, being elevated parallel to the Truck from a turn table set over the front wheels of the vehicle, when in a vertical position was wheeled around so as to face the front of the building, and, having been extended to the requisite length, was dropped against the eaves of the structure. Mr. Hayes and an assistant then ascended to the roof. Upon the descent of these gentlemen the ladder was brought back to vertical position, and, attaching the horses, the apparatus was driven to the front of the contiguous building, No. 579, and lowered against the roof. It was nest shortened and dropped to various windows, the manipulation of the vehicle in connection with the ladder was thus successfully demonstrated. All who had never seen the apparatus before were unanimous in commenting upon its superiority over similar inventions. The substitution of the Hayes Truck for the Hook and Ladder Trucks now in vogue in the New York Department has been suggested before. The advantages of its introduction is clearly recognised when it is remembered that the apparatus embraces, in addition to the usual appendages of the ordinary Truck, the ingenious extension ladder, the vallle of which it is not necessary to dwell upon here. In narrow streets its operations would be unembarrassed, and no hindranc» need be apprehended from tele, graph wires in view of the ladder’s capability of being used when perpendicular to the surface of the earth.


The following are extracts from General Orders in force in this Department:

The examinations of candidates for promotion to the position of Foreman and Assistant Foreman, which have been introduced in order to find the qualifications requisite, in the opinion of the Board of Officers, to carry out the system adopted have developed several results. The Board had been satisfied from the outset oi the impossibility of expecting well disciplined and effective Companies without well qualified officers, and that in appointments made to gratify the friends ot candidates these qualifications were subordinate to personal considerations. That justice to the men of ‘he Department required an open competition for promotion, and that every man who chose to be a candidate should have the necessary examination to ascertain his fitness. A fair, impartial, and competent Board of officers, consisting of the Assistant Chief of Department and two Chiefs of Battalions, duly appointed, have been in session to examine candidates, and a large number of aspirants have appeared before them for examination, to whom the Board of Examiners have devoted much time and attention. It has resulted in the rejection of more than three-fourths of the candidates, chiefly from want of information concerning their duties, and of a proper appreciation of the relations which should exist between them as officers and those under their orders.

I” thesrespec’S there was no excuse for a want of informa ion, for it is all contained in the orders and circulars on file in the quarters of every Company to which each member had access, and if he aspired to control and instruct a company he should h ive commenced by instructing himself. These rules and regulations, and general orders contain all that is required to be known, except as to the details of using the apparatus, and putting out a fire, the school for which is practice, and which all are supposed to have knowledge of.

The luck of knowledge of these rules and regulations (which have been made after careful consideration by the Board, and when made are to be studied and followed) has been the cau c of the failure of most of the candidates, and showed a want of attention to the qualifications which will be in all cases requisite to secure promotion In this Department. In many instances the candidates showed an entire ignorance of the working and equipment of the apparatus with which they had served for yrars. While it is not expected that an officer who may command a Company should be able to construct or even take to pieces and put together again his apparatus, a certain amount of intelligence as to its use, powers and details is necessary to enable a Company commander to actually command his Company and use its apparatus, without which the Engineer of a Steamer may really command his superior by asserting a position which from ignorance on the part of his commander cannot be refuted.

The introduction of steam and the conversion of the volunteer into the paidsystem, and of its necessary attendants, control and discipline the duty of twelve men to quietly accomplish, by the aid of this powerful ally, what fifty formerly accomplished by muscle and competition, have changed the position of the Firemen ; and although to stand and resist a fire amidst clouds of smoke, to fearlessly enter a burning building, to fight the fire inch by inch at personal risk are still duties in the discharge of which excellence is always appreciated, and help to make the record of a good Fireman, they are not the sole essentials.

To possess these qualifications is indispensable, but the Board requires something more. The only officers who will be appointed by them will be men familiar with the use of their apparatus, with the existing orders of the Department, with the care and use of horses, with the use of the implements connected with their apparatus, with the forms of the returns and reports used in the Companies, and their objects; and to do this it will be necessary that they should read and write a legible hand, and should have thst sense of self-respect and intelligence which will enable them to control as well as instruct the men under their command, and to appreciate the relations existing between officers and rats. If it is suggested that these qualifications are not now possessed by many officers now in service, it may be answered that they may yet remedy the deficiency by study and attention. But while the Board do not remove, in many cases, those who lack these requisites, it will be gathered from their presort mode of selection, and this circular, that they do not purpose appointing any more of that description, but to elevate the position of an officer of this Department to the standard of other services.

l he present Board of Examination is : Assistant Chief of Department, Charles Oscar Shay ; Chiefs of Battalions, William Rowe and Edward Wilhelm—three Firemen of experience in the old Volunteer Department, as well as iu the Paid Department; and in point of knowledge of Fire Department matters, they are second to none. Thetr decisions as to the qualifications of the candidates are strictly on the merits of the men, and no favor is shown.

There are sixteen subjects and one miscellaneous topic discussed. Three marks perfect on any one subject, which makes St marks as the highest that can be attained.

The Board do not recommend or disapprove of any candidate; they simply write down the number of marks he has received on examinations made. Formerly there were four marks given as perfect on any one subject, and the highest number attained was 68. It then required a candidate to receive 50 marks to pass a creditable examination, besides being recommended by the Board ; now there is no limited number as to passing an examination—it is whoever the Commissioners may select from the number for promotion.


The officers and men of this Department are notified that they will not be permitted to act as Poll Clerks, Inspectors, or Canvassers of Election; neither will they be permitted to be a delegate or representative to, or a member of, any political or partisan convention whose purpose is the nomination of any candidates to any political office. If any of the uniformed force of the Department accept appointments to such positions, they will immediately tender their resignations.

By a resolution which passed the Board, it is made a subject to have charges preferred against any member of this Department who shall pay any assessment or tax for any political purposes.


The regular weekly meeting of the Board was held Wednesday morning, and there being no trials of negligent or delinquent officers or men, the session was very brief.

Balances.—President King presented the following statement showing the balances of the Department appropriations on Monday last, the report was transmitted to the Comptroller: Balance on Monday, September 15 :—On salaries, $348,544.50; apparatus, supplies, &c., &c., $38,028.17; three new Engine-houses, $10,283.10 ; estimated liabilities incurred during the week ending Saturday, September 20:—On salaries, $-; on apparatus, supplies, &c., &c., $1,182.28; balance

after deducting liabilities on September 22:—On salaries, $348,544 50; on apparatus, supplies, &c., &c., $36,845.89; three new Engine-houses, $10,283.10; total estimate of liabilities up to and including the Saturday preceding the date of estimate:—On salaties, $686,425.50; on apparatus,supplies, &c., &c., $36,845.89; three new Engine-houses, $19,716.90.

Leaves of Absence.—The medical officer of the Board sent a communication recommending leaves of absence and extensions of the same in the cases of the following named sick and injured officers and men: John Brown, of Hook and Ladder Company No. 4, for two days; private G. E. Sembler, of Engine Company No. 1, one day; Fireman John Wright, of Hook aid Ladder C mpany No. 12, five days; Foreman Kehoe, of Hook and Ladder Company No. 6, five days ; Fireman James Gibney, of Hook and Ladder Company No 3. five days; Assistant Foreman Olmstead, of Engine Company No. 23, five days; Foreman George Erb, of Engine Company No. 9, two days ; James McGivney, of Engine Company No. 6, two days; W. L. Hughes, of Hook and Ladder Company No. 13, three days ; Foreman Thomas Coyle, of Engine Company No. 23. was excused from active fire duty for ten days, as was also Assistant Foreman Perley, of Engine Com, any No. 16, for three days; Assistant Engineer Hallenbeck, of Engine Company No. 23, had an extension of ten days’ leave of absence granted him.

Upon the request of the Board of Fire Commissioners, the Commissioner of Public Works has caused the placing, in several up-town streets, of fire hydrants, where there have been none heretofore, thus increasing the efficiency of the Department in extinguishing fires.

Two peripatetic lepresentatives of THE JOURNAL, in their recent perambulations in search of mer.tal pabulum, came across Chemical Engine Company No. 4, Tremont, N. Y. This Company is under the con rol of the Fire Commissioners of New York city, Tremont, although a suburb of the metropolis, being contained within the city boundaries, and an inspection of the apparatus and workings of the Company shows that the same efficiency of drill and routine work is practiced here as in the city proper. The Engine is a double tank Babcock Chemical, and is in thorough trim. The Company also have a Hose Cart, which can be run, however, only on streets where hydrants are placed The Company roll contains the names of one officer, Captain Joseph Poynton, and three men. Owing to the roughness ol the roads in the vicinity of Tremont, the three horses of the Company all have to be placed on the Engine in answering some alarms.


The Board of Fire Commissioners have executed the following contracts: For alterations to the House of Engine Company No. 19, at $8,850; for the same to the House of Engine Company No. 34, at $8,900. Mahony Bros, were the parties who received these contracts.