The paid fire Department.
--The fire-engine is not only a great convenience, but its moral influence, also, is not to be despised.
When the old-fashioned hand-engines were in use an alarm of fire was the signal for excitement, noise, and confusion, and sometimes when popular opposing engines were brought together, the members engaged in angry altercation, and occasionally disgraceful fights.
This arose sometimes — in fact, most generally — because all the loafers in the city, like Micawber, who were waiting for something to turn up, at the instant of the alarm would immediately spring forth, like tigers after their prey, to ‘"run with the Linesmen. "’ On such occasions, if an available position was taken away by one engine from another, a disturbance would be sure to take place, and bloody noses and black eyes would sometimes result as a natural sequence.
Under the operation of the paid department, so much contemned at first, when a fire breaks out the noisy crowd of opposition
firemen have nothing to do with it.--The paid ‘"boys"’ mind their own affairs, without calling for help from those so fond of running with ‘"the machine."’ Everything moves along smoothly and quietly, and all because there is a set of men actuated by a single purpose, in which the feeling of jealous rivalry does not mingle.
All honor to the steam fire-engines
They are better preachers of ‘"the word"’ than one-half of those that stand in the pulpit.
What the city loses by paying for a special Fire Department, with a steam fire-engine, the result has proved they will make up in good order and morality, gained by their use. The great riots in New York, Baltimore
, and other cities, have been caused, either directly or indirectly, by the loafers and ‘"fast boys"’ who congregate at fires, and learn their manners while running with the machine.
Without disparagement to the former system in operation here, we can say, with truth, that the city has need to congratulate itself on the successful working of its paid Fire Department.
We hope the system will continue to improve in the future, as in the past, till our citizens will secure a considerable earthly blessing in the shape of nearly an entire exemption from the visits of the fire god.