JOHANNESBURG FIRE DEPARTMENT.
During the year ending June 30. 1906, the fire department of Johannesburg, South Africa, received and responded to 891 calls. Of these, however, only 218 were for fires or supposed outbreaks of fire (the others being for ambulance calls)—an increase of sixty-one over the fire calls of the previous year. Eleven alarms were false, and seventy were received over the Gamewell system, the rest being verbal, telephone, or from firemen on look-out duty. Of the false alarms four were malicious, and one of these alarmists, a boy of fifteen years of age, was arrested, and by the magistrate handed over to his parents to be dealt with in the accustomed humiliating manner. It may be added that during the twelve months covered by the report “not a single false alarm was caused by fault in the wires, which speaks very highly for the Gamewell system of fire-alarm” says Chief Officer R. Gordon-Stuart. Twenty-one fires in respect of which no call was made on the department occurred during the year specified, resulting in an estimated damage of £5,670. In the case of five of these fires, the premises were totally destroyed. One life was lost. The total value of property within the municipal boundary, which was in danger of destruction, and at which the fire department attended is estimated at $16,712,8oo—an increase of $6,112,150 when compared with $9,660,650, which was the figure for the previous year, 1904-5. The total value of the property beyond the municipal boundary which was at risk and which the fire department attended is estimated at $1,606,250—an increase of $857,250 when compared with $750,000, the figure for the preceding year. The total loss sustained by fire within the municipal boundary’—excluding the loss by outbreaks of fire to which the fire department was not called—is estimated at $736,175—an increase of $430,880 when compared with $306,395, the figure for the preceding year. The total loss sustained by the outbreaks of fire beyond the municipal boundary at which the fire department attended is estimated at $54,600—a decrease of $5,400 when compared with $60,000— the figure for the preceding year. The amount for which the property actually on fire within the municipal boundary was insured during the past year totals $11,729,940, and beyond the municipal area $1,606,250—an increase of $6,827,055 on the total insurances when compared with $6,519,135— the total of the insurances during the previous year. These figures do not include fires at which the fire department was not in attendance. During the year ending June, 1906, the incendiarism was greatly in evidence, which accounts for the increase in the number of fires. Of the few arrests made conviction was secured in only one case. The prisoner was sentenced to one year and nine months’ imprisonment at hard labor. Many important blocks of buildings were jeopardised during the year, but the fire department was, in every instance, successful in saving them from destruction. The distance covered by the horses and apparatus in journeying to and from the above-mentioned fires was 960 miles. Fiftylive thousand three hundred and fifty feet of hose were in actual use, and 733,185 gals, of water and eighty nine chemical charges were expended by the fire department in the extinction of the above-mentioned fires. The personnel of the fire department is as follows: At the central station Chief officer commanding (R. GordonStuart, J. 1’.); secretary; second officer; engineers, five; first, second and third class firemen, twenty three; messenger; cook. At the Eastern District fire station.–District officer; engineer; first, second, third and fourth class firemen, thirteen. General hospital. One first-class fireman. Besides there is a brigade surgeon and an honorary chaplain. The following is the equipment: Ambulance, horsed; automobiles, two; automobile combined chemical engine and hose wagon; combination (horsed) chemical and hose wagon; combination store-van and tender (horsed) ; hose carts, three; escape, tender and escape, 60 ft. (horsed); fire-alarm street boxes, Gamewell, ninety-one; switchboards, 4-circuit, three; repeaters, three; visual indicators, four; punch registers (automatic), three; timing and dating registers (automatic), three; electric motor; dynamo; chemical fire engine (horsed); chemical engine, steam, self-propelled, 500 gals.; fly, visiting; hose, canvas, 2j4-in., 42,000 ft.; horses, eleven; ladders, pompier (complete, with belts and lines), twelve; ladders (hook), six; ladders, scaling (Manchester), fourteen; sheets, jumping, four; trolley; hose wagon. A site has been purchased for a new central station. The Western District is in great need of a station, with men and equipment. A site has been purcahsed for the building. The Northern and Southern Districts are in the same need; but no sites have as yet been purchased for fire stations. During the year covered by the report the Eastern District fire station has been finished and a complete Gamewell fire-alarm system installed. Chief Officer Gordon-Stuart is not one to let things slide.