Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments
Chapter 54, Part V
By Holice and Debbie
These years marked importance events. In them the system of watching for incendiaries and prosecuting them was perfected by the appointment of a Fire Marshall, Mr. Alfred Baker. October 15, 1857, it was resolved to in future call the Association of the Board of Fire Underwriters, and this preceded the reorganization of April 15, 1868, . June 24, 1858, the following resolution in regard to cutting rates was passed:
That in case of a deviation from the rates of premium by writing below the established rates it shall be the duty of the company making such deviation to pay the amount of premium named on such policy into the treasury for the benefit of the Fire patrol fund, subject to the decision of the Executive Committee.
Anxiety was felt about the water supply at this time, for on the 26th of October a committee of three was appointed to inquire into the matter.
In December, 1861, on a report of a Special Committee on unrelated petroleum, it ws declared "positively uninsurable in all buildings in compact portions of the city, and in all public warehouses, privileged for storage of hazardous, and extra hazardous merchandise, and such oils are considered insurable only when in detached and properly ventilated sheds and warehouses, specially adopted by their construction for that purpose, and devoted exclusively to the storage of such oils or substances of a similar character, and then only at a special rate, not less then three per cent." the storage of benzine, benzole, naptha, and refined petroleum was also restricted.
March 17, 1`864, the creation of a paid fire department was foreshadowed by the passing of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the subject of promoting the greater efficiency of the Fire Department be referred to a special committee to inquire into the same, and report to a subsequent meeting of this Board.
The committee appointed by President Hope consisted of James M. McLean, President of the Citizens' Fire Insurance Co.: Carlisle Norwood, President of the Lorillard; James M. Rankin, Secretary of the Fulton; Rudolph Garrigue, Richard A. Reading, T. J. Glover, and T. G. Churchill. A month later the committee was discharged and the matter was referred to the executive committee. November 28th plans had so far advanced that each company was assessed one-tenth of one per cent of the amount of its capital for the advancement of the scheme, one-half to be handed over to the Citizens' Association and the remainder to the Committee on Fire Department. The same day the Board offered a reward of $3,000 for the conviction of any and all incendiaries in New York, Brooklyn, Jersey City and Hoboken. This was because of the attempt to burn the
city by Southern sympathizers, and the Mayor had offered a reward of $2,000 for their arrest. The early days of 1865 were passed in discussing the Paid Fire Department Bill presented at Albany. The chief opposition was to include Brooklyn in its operations. February 14th a communication from Mr. Peter Cooper embodied a suggestion which was not carried out until President Henry D. Purroy had his portable tanks constructed. Said Mr. Cooper: "In order to stimulate these men and preserve the greatest degree of purity in their body and devotion to the interests of the city I propose that it should be made their pecuniary interest to faithfully perform their duty." He urged the placing of tanks of elevated water held at convenient places in the city so high that the force of water will make all the hydrants equal to fire engines for the purpose of extinguishing fires by simply hoisting a gate so as to let the water press on the mains of the city.
The officers of the Board from the establishment of a Paid Fire Department to the present were:
Transcribed by Holice B. Young
HTML by Debbie
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