REORGANIZE THE FIRE DEPARTMENT
WILL TAKE STEPS TO
PLANT IN ORDER AND REWARD HEROES.
Fire Commissioners met at noon yesterday [April 29, 1906] with Mayor Schmitz
and all the battalion chiefs, and for the first time since the double disaster
of the 18th endeavored to effect a reorganization of the department. Since
the fire ended its work of destruction on the morning of the 21st, the
Commission has been almost constantly in session, doing all in its power
to return the affairs of the department to conditions as nearly normal
as possible, and at yesterday's meeting the results of their labors were
first announcement made at the meeting was that all men suspended since
the fire for infractions of rules have been reinstated and that all men
who performed their duty faithfully during the days and nights of the fire
have had all black marks that were against their records absolutely wiped
out. In the first class covered by this announcement were men who fought
without sleep or food for upward of seventy hours but who, once the fire
was out, rushed off to look after their loved ones. Other offenses were
committed that would have been grave in ordinary times, but the Commission
did not find it difficult to forgive and forget under the existing circumstances.
the department are many men who rendered very exceptional service, risking
their own lives and by their cool discretion safeguarding the lives of
others. Those thus especially distinguished will be listed, and as soon
as may be promotion will be their recompense. Those men, if any there were,
who shirked their duties and showed themselves cowards, will be dealt with
just as summarily as the law permits and will be expelled from the department
in disgrace. The firemen are proud of the fact, however, that the shirkers
were very few. Citizens who gave themselves and their efforts to helping
out the department where its own men were lacking or exhausted, will also
be listed and they will find that their heroism was not in vain.
the best news that was forthcoming for the men of the department was that
they will receive their pay tomorrow at 2 o'clock. This will be a great
aid to those who have lost their homes and who, because of their work,
are able even now to give but little time or thought to the affairs of
their own families.
losses to the department though earthquake and fire include six fire engines,
one truck equipment and about one-half the entire supply of hose that was
available, in addition to the score or more fire houses that were within
the burned district. Contracts exist in every case for supplies and word
has been received from every contractor concerned that the apparatus necessary
to re-equip the department will be furnished at the earliest possible moment.
every effort will be made to temporarily house the apparatus and members
of the department, that the unburned section of the city may be fully guarded
and protected. It has been decided definitely that the department should
not be reduced in size. If this were done there would be room for a fear
that sufficient protection was not left the city, and to prevent any such
fear and to inspire all possible confidence in the people during the period
of rebuilding, the department will be kept intact.
Chief Dougherty and all battalion chiefs and company commanders were notified
to do all in their power to give their men opportunities to look after
individual interests. "The men worked like heroes," said Commissioner Parry
yesterday, "and we are very proud of them. We want to do all in our power
to aid them now and we want each member of the Fire Department who did
his duty to know that the Commission appreciates what was done and that
the Commission is standing behind each one of them at this time. After
the 1st of the month the men will again get their regular days off, and
the vacation period, which was to have begun on the 1st of May, will begin
on the 15th instead and the men will get all their vacations as usual.
We are entirely convinced that they are entitled to them."
was decided at the meeting that every possible courtesy and consideration
should be shown the widow of the late Chief Sullivan.
To this end an application for pension was ordered made out for her and
it was directed that an assistant county clerk and notary visit her at
her home, that she may be spared appearing before the Commission.
George, the water expert of the department, after forty-eight hours of
travel throughout the city, submitted a report showing just where water
is available, just where it will be available and when in the and pointing
out the places where water is not available for some time to come. Mr.
Herrin of the Southern Pacific pledged his best efforts toward locating
chemicals shipped from Los Angeles a week ago, and the chemical engines
which are in good shape will be so placed as to guard those sections that
are without water. By this arrangement every block of the unburned district
will be well guarded and the commissioners do not expect to have any difficulty
in overcoming any fires that may break out, providing the regulations made
for citizens are respected and obeyed. There need be no fear entertained
of further conflagrations.
San Francisco Chronicle
to 1906 Exhibit
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