Telegraph Herald
Saturday May 10, 1902



Indignation Expressed Because Firemen
Were Allowed to Go to Fires Without Helmets

Chief Reinfried was seen to-day about the terrible accident that befell two of his firemen, and his eyes filled with tears while talking. "They were two of the best men in the department and we will feel their loss keenly. When the wall fell I was standing close by and was about to go to the men. Had the accident happened about a minute later I would certainly have been missing. Nobody expected that the wall would fall."

In memory of the death of their fellows the members of the Central engine house have draped the exterior of the building with black. They have also covered the charter of the relief association with the same material. The funeral of Captain Ganahl will be held Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock.

Great indignation is expressed because the firemen were permitted to fight the flames without helmets. In every well regulated fire department, steel helmets are provided for the men and none are permitted to lend a hand at a fire whose head has not the protection. In Chicago, Davenport, and other western cities a fireman who goes to a fire without a helmet is discharged. It is stated that there is a rule in the Dubuque fire department to the effect that all firemen must wear helmets. Some 3 years ago, it is stated the city council ordered an installation of this kind of headgear, but for some reason or other they were not worn long and are now lying in the attic of the different fire houses. The three firemen who lost their lives wore ordinary cloth caps and the flying bricks crushed their skulls. Persons who are familiar with steel helmets sat that the accident may not have proven so disastrous it the unfortunate firemen had been provided with them.
Editor Telegraph-Herald:
While popular attention is excited by the calamity which overtook several families Thursday night and deprived them of the services of those who provided their daily bread, I suggest that the city make provision for the future by taking out policies of insurance against accidents for each member of the fire department, in some of the casualty insurance companies. If municipalities may require their officers to give bonds executed by some of the fidelity companies and pay the premiums out of their expense funds, why may not the same municipality protect their servants against the hazards of the perils they confront in performance of municipal duty and pay the premiums out of the same fund. It is quite certain that no fireman would be any less zealous in the discharge of his duties if he knew that in case of injury happening to him the loss and suffering will not all fall on himself or his family.

The matter is well worth the consideration of our city fathers.