Charleston Fire Report

Charleston Fire Report


In his annual report to the Board of Fire Masters Chief Louis Behrens, of the Charleston, S. C., fire department, for the year ending Dec. 31, 1913, states that there were 307 alarms of which 134 were telephone and 83 box alarms. There were 19 false alarms, one second and one call from outside of city for assistance. There were 93 fires extinguished by hand chemical extinguishers, 24 by chemical engines, 23 with buckets, 21 with steam fire engines and nine with chemical engines and hydrant streams. Four alarms were sent in by firemen, 51 by policemen and 152 by citizens. The total loss was $87,655.30 in property valued at $1,596,254.72 and insured for $1,350,861. The loss on buildings was $64,194.55 and on contents $23,460.75. Total insurance loss was $86,834.30. The average annual loss for 32 years is $67,655.79. The total loss in 1912 was $38,164.13.

The department consists of eight companies and 96 full paid men. The apparatus in service consists of 9 steam fire engines, one motor engine, one motor tractor combination hose wagon and chemical engine, two combination hose wagons, three hose carriages, one aerial truck equipped with a water tower, one service truck and two automobiles. The cost of maintenance was $82,890.84. The appropriation was $83,600.


The largest fire of the year was the Clyde Steamship Company pier on December 15, with a total loss of $50,439.55. The value of property at risk was $420,000. This was the only fire that called for a second alarm. The department was in service 692 hours and 50 minutes, it laid 146 lines of hose, a total of 61,850 feet, used 4,156 feet of ladders, 132 hooks, and 27 tanks of chemical. Six sections of hose burst at fires. The new 80-horsepower Seagrave tractor chemical engine and hose wagon cost $106.39 for maintenance during the year. The horse-drawn apparatus the motor equipment displaced cost in the same length of time $899.81 for maintenance. During the year three tug boats were equipped as fire boats. Chief Behrens recommends the purchase of a motor triple combination motor pumping engine of 750 gallons capacity, a chemical engine and hose wagon to be located at No. 6 station extension of alarm system, red lights for each alarm box, a new motor aerial truck, better building laws and an improved water supply.

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