SAN FRANCISCO’S FIRE UNDERWRITERS’ INSPECTION BUREAU.
During the past year the fire underwriters’ inspection bureau of San Francisco, Cal., completed its fifteenth annual inspection, which included all special hazards within the city and county, as well as all institutions, hospitals, churches, asylums, and similar buildings of a public character. The total number of inspections made was 24,049, besides 2,494 electrical inspections, 156 inspections of buildings in course of construction, and 218 special hazards. The bureau finds that thirty-one additional fire hydrants were set last year, making a total of 3,755 in the city. The percentage of fires from preventable causes was 5.9 per cent.—again of reduction from the continuous low percentage of recent years. It may be noticed that in 1883, before the bureau started work, the preventable fires were forty-one per cent, of the whole number; in 1885, when the bureau was organized, they were twenty-nine per cent. In the fourth year they had fallen to thirteen percent. Among the inspections, besides those already mentioned, were nine samples of oil, which were tested. The summary of work accomplished by the bureau includes 1,955 removals of wooden ash barrels ;fifty-eight of wooden ash chutes; 871 of defective stone pipes; thirty-six of terra cotta chimneys; thirty-one of defective stoves; eight of open fires; 159 of wooden candlesticks, nine of dangerous matchboxes ; fourteen of cloth lining; ninety-two of grease (walls and hoods), 3,181 of rubbish thirteen of wooden spittoons; seventy-four of oily waste; two of rags from stove pipes. In addition, the bureau made 7,238 electrical changes; caused fire doors or shutters to be affixed to 156 openings; 2,669 feet of hose to be provided ; seven safety benzine cans; 694 fire or sand pails; and 104 barrels of water. It also abolished forty gasolene stoves; bricked up twenty-three communicating openings; caused three crude petroleum plants to be installed and seventeen chimneys to be cleaned: made six belts safe; and changed nine automatic sprinklers. The total receipts (including a balance of $103.29)were $11,041.75; the disbursements (including repayment of $500 loan to fire patrol,) $11,040.75 577-1000ths of ten per cent. of the city premiums for fire insurance. The working force of the bureau includes chief inspector, five inspectors, and one clerk—the latter also doing considerable inspection work.