SUMMARIZED FIRE REPORTS FOR 1901.
IN addition to a fire department of ninety-seven officers and men, Middleboro, Mass., has also a fire police force of fifteen men, making a total of 112 men under Chief Kingman, who had not much to do in the way of fire-extinguishment last year, since they had only nine fires in all, with several still alarms. But what was done was done well, as is shown by the fact that the total loss was within $8,200. At the annual meeting it was voted to purchase 500 feet of hose. The apparatus consists of hook and ladder truck, fully equipped; one No. 4 Babcock double-tank chemical engine; one hose wagon and four hose reels, with about 6,000 feet of hose. There are 119 hydrants set in the city. Middleboro is a good centre from which to dispatch apparatus and crews to fight woods fires. For this purpose the chemical engine was sent out several times beyond the fire district limits.
Chief Byers, of the Westfield, N. J., fire department reports that there were fifty alarms received during 1900, of which twenty-five were box alarms; nineteen, still; eleven, for forest fires; and three, from outside the water limit. The total loss for the year amounted to $20,324, of which $4,900 represents the damage outside the water limits, aud the actual loss within these limits only $15,413—the smallest in many years. The value of the property endangered was $164,475, on which was an insurance of $81,375. There are sixtyfour men in the department, and the apparatus was considerably improved during the past year. Among the recommendations made for still further improving the department are the following: Dividing the fire alarm system into circuits, for which $1,500 would be needed, and the installation of two additional fire alarm boxes.
Ishpheming, Mich., of whose report only a very briefest extract has already appeared in the column devoted to this subject, had twenty-two ularms during 1900, of which only six were turned in from boxes, the rest being whistle, telephone,or still alarms. The total fire loss was $8,819.46 ; insurance, $1,949.46—showing that the citizens have unlimited faith in the excellence of their fire department, but teaching them at the same time the lesson that even the best department cannot always guard against loss which can be met by the insurance offices. The actual cost of running the department during the year was $3,969.80, besides which there was the cost of purchasing a fire patrol wagon and that of building a house for it. Chief Pearce is justly proud of the showing of his department, and can be pardoned for doubting if there is another city of the same size in the country with an efficient department at such a small cost. Eight thousand one hundred and fifty feet of hose was laid; fourteen and three-quarter hours were spent at fires; and ten and three-quarter miles were traveled in answering alarms.
Last year’s fire loss in Glasgow, Scotland, was the heaviest on record. In his report on the work of the Glasgow fire brigade, Capt. Paterson states that the total calls for services were 1,263. Of these 164 were false alarms. The city fires were one less than the number of the preceding year. The aggregate loss by fires within the city for the year was estimated at $1,600,000. More than one-half of the entire loss was from three buildings, destroyed on June 3 and 8. The average loss for the fifteen years preceding last year was $579,000. The losses for 1900 raised the average for sixteen years to $640,000 or $31,500 more than the average for the ten years ending 1884. The past year did not show any improvement on fires due to poorbuilding construction, there having been 226 such cases, as compared with 215 in 1899.
In London, England, during 1900 there were 3,885 fires, of which 115 were serious and 3,270 slight. From the years 1890 to 1899 the average number of tires was 3,382, of which 170 were serious and 3,153 slight. The loss of life amounted to seventy-four—a great decrease on that of former years; of lives endangered there were 229 at 162 fires. In thirty-four instances where life was lost, the fires in consequence of which these deaths occurred were not sufficient to endanger the premises. The falsealarms were 931, 298 of which were maliciously given; but only six persons were brought to punishment therefor. Besides these, twenty-five people, who for malicious or other reasons broke the covering-glass of alarm-posts without giving the alarm, were arrested and dealt with. In three cases only the water arrangements were not satisfactory.