Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive

             ARE CHRONIC

Favors Penitentiary Punishment for

Offenders Who Are Giving

Department Unnecessary Runs.

Boys Usually Offend


    More false alarms have been turned into the fire department in the last two weeks than were responded to in the previous two months

    Owing, it is believed, to the easy way that offenders have been treated up to the present time, there seems to be no restraining force to keep the maliciously inclined form making the fire department do more work than necessary.

    Chief Lips said yesterday when asked about the unusual frequency of false alarms:
    "Whenever we have caught anyone who turned in a false alarm, it is either a boy about eight or ten years old or else a drunken man.
    "There is no way to locate an offender unless a police officer happens to see someone commit the offense.  Then when one of the miscreants is caught, he is usually lightly dealt with by the courts.  In many states it is a penitentiary offense to turn in a false alarm and it should be in California

Both From Hope Street

    "This afternoon there were two alarms turned in.  One at the corner of Eleventh and Hope and the other at the corner of Eight and Hope.  It is probable that both were tuned in by the same person.  All we can do in a case like that is to report the occurrence to the police and if they find the offender he is prosecuted.

    "In several sections of Los Angeles we cannot leave the keys in the boxes, for the number of false alarms that would come in from them is something scandalous.

    "The keys of the box at the corner of Buena Vista and Sunset boulevard cannot be kept there nor can the ones for the box at Main and Wilhardt and for box 236 in Boyle Heights.

    "When we used to leave the keys in the boxes at these places false alarms came in at the rate of three or four a week.

    "Some action should be taken that would deter maliciously inclined youngsters and others from turning in false alarms."

    The police discovered last night that a kodak fiend, anxious to take a snapshot of a fire department responding to a call, was responsible for an alarm turned in about 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon from the box at Eighth and Hope streets.

    Several small boys are authority for the statement that they saw a man equipped with a big camera run to the box, turn in the alarm and wait to see the engines arrive.  They said that he disappeared after taking a snap.

The Los Angeles Herald, April 17, 1906

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