"LOUIS BEHRENS DIES; A FAMOUS FIREMAN
Charleston (S.C.) Man Had the Longest Service Record of Any Fire Chief in Nation.
ONCE ON THE FORCE HERE
Friend of Kenlon and "Smoky Joe" Martin a Hero During Earthquake in Southern City in 1886.
Special to The New York Times.
CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 12 -- Fire Chief Louis Behrens, with a service record of fifty-six years, longer than any other fire chief in the United States, was found dead this morning in his bed in fire headquarters. He had retired the night before in unusually fine spirits and his clothing was found as usual arranged in a position to be put on quickly in case of an alarm.
Chief Behrens, a familiar figure at national fire conventions and for twenty-eight years president of the State Association, once was a member of the New York department and was a friend of Chief John Kenlon and Smoky Joe Martin. He was 72 years old last July 21.
As a youth his parents opposed his ambition to become a fireman, as his uncle had been killed fighting fires during the Federal bombardment of Charleston during the Civil War. He became a cabinet maker at first, but sneaked off to help fight fires with the volunteers.
During the earthquake here in 1886 the firemen were the heroes of the day in extricating injured from the ruins and young Behrens did his share. Soon after the World War he directed fire fighting on a submarine chaser here when the boat blew up. He was disabled for five months.
Chief Behrens was a remarkable man physically, being slim, supple and erect despite his age. Until the day of his death he performed vigorous calisthenics, to which he ascribed his fine health, and could put both feet behind his head with ease."