BIRMINGHAM FIRE BRIGADE.
The nineteenth annual report of the fire brigade of Birmingham, England, states that there were 713 alarms of fire during the past year—an increase of ninety seven on the pre* vious year. Of these eighty were for chimneys on fire; seventynine were false alarms; and eight were outside the city boundary, of which four were serious—that is, more than one-sixth of the property at risk was destroyed. Of serious fires in Birmingham itself there were thirty-two—the other 531 being slight. The total loss from fire was estimated at $189,880, and the value of the property at risk $9,049,990. As compared with 1896, there has been an increase of $11,440 in the amount of property at risk. Three thousand, eight hundred and twentyfive dollars of the estimated loss, and $23,950 of property at risk, relate to fires beyond the city boundary. The total time occupied in attending and extinguishing the fires was 381 hours and thirty-three minutes, or an average of 32.1 minutes per alarm. One thousand, eight hundred and fifteen additional assistants were employed, at a cost, including cabs, refreshments, etc.,of $431.50. No payment is made in respect of chimney or false alarms, except under special circumstances. The quantity of hose in use at the fires was six miles, 1,427 and one-half yards. No persons lost their lives at fires; but five died in hospital after rescue. The number of fires in which life was endangered was fifty-six, and the number of persons endangered 159. Of the five deaths two were due to fires arising from accidents to paraffin lamps. Of the 159 lives in danger twenty-seven were due to a similar cause. The steam fire engines were required to assist the pressure from the mains on nine occasions during the year. The ambulances attached to the fire stations have rendered good service in conveying injured persons, and in 161 cases the firemen have given practical help to the injured by the way of first-aid. The police have used the ambulances on 112 occasions, and the material in the alarm and first-aid boxes has also proved of service. On several occasions the firemen were in charge of ambulances, etc., at displays. A.R.Tozer, chief officer of the brigade, has received from the St.John Ambulance society the honorary appointment of “ Serving Brother.” The apparatus in use consists of four steam engines—two of 350 gallons, one of 450, and the fourth of 750; two manual engines—one seven-inch, the other six-inch; nineteen fire escapes; one fire escape and tender; two tenders; three horse hose carts; four hand hose carts; and sixty-eight large hand pumps; extincteurs, five; scaling ladders,twenty-four; telescopic ladders, forty-four; canvas buckets, 302; jumping sheets, twenty nine; ambulances, six; bicyles, two. Of hose, the two manual engines carry 750 yards; the steam fire engines 1,225; the two tenders, 1,125; the fire escape tender, 325; the hand hose carts, 375; the fire escapes, 2,050. In the yards there were 8,800 yards of hose. There are now twenty-one fire alarm boxes(which are also used for police and other purposes). Over these were sent in 106 calls for fire; ten for chimneys; and twelve false. The authorized strength of the brigade, all pirmanently employed, now consists of one chief officer, one assistant, two engineers, five assistant engineers, one clerk,and forty-nine firemen—total,fiftynine. It is recommended that more be added and more substations built. The area of the city in acres is 12,705; the population, according to the last census, is 478,113. The estimated population in June, 1897. was 505,772. This gives one fireman to about every 215 acres and 8,573 of population. The brigade continues, under the able superintendence of Mr. A. R. Tozer to be maintained in a manner highly satisfactory to the committee.