Richard George Houren Firefighter's Response 22 Dec 1961

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Richard George Houren
Firefighter's Response
22 Dec 1961 - Alton Firefighters Uhion Local 12BB, In ft...
Alton Firefighters Uhion Local 12BB, In ft statement Issued toddy, Attacked the ireport of former Alton Fire Chief Richard 0, Houren on conditions 6f the fire department, asserting thai Houren's report was "inaccurate and exaggerated.'* The statement also found fall) ordinance states that 'up to bu with the City Council tot failing to ask firemen for their side of the issues raised by Houren. Houren, \vlio resigned after serving 10 days as chief of the Alton department, last Friday reported to the Council on conditions he found in the department Inaccuracy, Exaggeration Cited as an example of inaccuracy and exaggeration in Houren's report was his discussion of the city's only turret gun, a device for throwing concentrated streams of water on large fires. Houren said the turret gun is missing a number of ball bearings and its gaskets are defective. The fire* men said Houren's picture of the condition., waa incomplete—that he omitted mentioning that the piece of equipment .is currently mounted on a 192? fire truck, the pump of which is in such poor condition as to render the gun useless The stalertient asserted that firemen have a routine of weekly scrubbing the floors and windows of the fire houses, but that con ditions of the building themselves, with cracked and broken plaster and wall board ceilings, made it impossible for "amateur exterminators to be effective" in their attempts to stamp out the cockroach population in the houses. Many firemen bought and used insecticides to use against the roaches, but were not wholly successful. Counter To Attack Raised as a counter to one of Houren's attacks was the statement, "Mr. Houren says the city is being short-changed by the men by stretching (of) vacation periods over a longer period of time, ,by^ means .of juggling compensatory time off and sick leave. By ordinance, a compensatory day off'is given for all personnel who work one of the eight designated holidays and the same Goldwater Lauds critic of the Kennedy administration, has praised ^President's Soum American iprogramr "'" 'Til have to take my hat off to him," Goldwater told a'civic club Thursday night. 'What he said (on hie recent South American trip), took courage. "Before much progress can be made, the land owned by a few in Latin-American countries must be divided. The big question is how." '-.. "''' r ' \ ••• ;'".! no more than five days of compen satory time may be Added or in eluded with a full period of va cation or leave due to illness.'' The complete statement of th local is published in an advertise ment in this edition of the Telegraph. "Concerning other comments bj Houren as to the quality and ef ficiency of the men and equipment," of the department, th statement cites excerpts from the March, 1958, report of the Nation al Board of Fire Underwriters Five findings are lited — abou mmpers, housekeeping conditions' and discipline "informal but gen erally well maintained." Then, the statement says: "Unless conditions changed be tween March, 1958, and Decem her, 1961, the Bord of Fire Under writers or Mrs. Houren is misstating the facts." No Admiration As a possible explanation of the difference of opinion, the state ment continues, Houren "stated to a member of the Fire Department that he would 'blast' the firemen before he left the city.' "It is true that the firemen had no admiration for Mr. Houren Within .five days of taking office as chief, Mr. Houren informed the men he was to lead that they were no better than third-rate volunteers, that the engineers were not qualified and that the assistant chiefs were not qualified to handle their jobs. Having formed and voiced such an opinion in five days, Mr. Houren could no' arid did not earn the respect of his men and, further, did not seek :o earn such respect. The.funda- mental qualification for leadership was wholly lacking." Threats Denied "Yet no piember of the Fire Department," the statement goes on, "is known or suspected to lave made any anonymous phone call or threat to Mr. Houren, directly or indirectly." The staement concludes that ,of 'the «a. * 4tLf •quipment. Their health and their, (yes depend upon both. This is, mwever, principally a budgetary and financial problem which cannot be solved without public recognition and support. "Additional training of members of this department. Vis'Welcomed as being equally important to the safety of the members of the department, but training must be organized and systemized to be effective." . ; on deeper

Clipped from
  1. Alton Evening Telegraph,
  2. 22 Dec 1961, Fri,
  3. Page 1

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  • Richard George Houren Firefighter's Response 22 Dec 1961

    kewoodley – 23 Jun 2013

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