Superintendent Stein Retires.
Those who remember Superintendent David M. Stein, of the Melbourne, Australia, fire brigade, who made such a favorable impression during the convention of the International association of Fire Engineers, which was held in New York city in 1902, will regret to learn that he recently met with an accident so severe as to necessitate his retirement on a compensation allowance. In April, 1907, he was in such bad health that the Metropolitan F’ire Brigades board gave him a six months’ leave of absence to go to Europe, from which trip he returned so greatly improved as to be able to resume his duties with every prospect of being able to retain his post. It has turned out otherwise, and the metropolis of Australasia loses a first-class fireman and fire chief. His report for 1907 is a voluminous affair. It shows that, in all, 1,590 calls were received by the brigade during the year. But of these 674 were false alarms, 237 being malicious. The other calls were as under: Rubbish and grass fires, 127, chimney calls, 128, trifling fires, 171, slight fires, 434, fires causing considerable damage, 44, very considerable damage, 6, total destruction, 6. The lastnamed were all small frame-built houses. Sparks, with 54 fires, head the cause list: Candles caused 40 fires; children playing, 22; oil lamps, 21; overheating, 20; oil. etc., boiling over, 20; lights in contact, 19; hot ashes, 17; lime slacking, 15; lights thrown down, 13; defective construction, 10; explosions, to; ignition of chemicals, 8; lighted matches, 7; spontaneous combustion, 5; biograph films, 4; fire falling from grate, 4; electric wires, 4: burning of rubbish, 4; foul flues, 4; burning off paint, etc., 4; smoking tobacco, 3; defective gas fittings, 3; other known causes. 5; unknown, 352—a large percentage. Fires in dwellinghouses numbered 302; in shops, stores and warehouses, 139; in factories and workshops, 66; in buildings incomplete or unoccupied, 34; in the open, 26: in hotels, 20; exhibitions, 11; railway and street railway premises, 8: refreshment rooms, 8; ships and wharves, 8: places of amusement, 6; institutions, 6; offices, 6; motors and garages, 5: stables, 5; sheds, 5. Thirtv-two persons sustained injuries at fires, and of these 5 died. Melbourne fire brigade, of which Superintendent Stein was chief officer, has 50 stations, with 176 permanent officers and men, 6 theatre firemen, and 160 auxiliaries, and the appliances include the following: Ten steamers ; 2 gasoline engines : petroleum engine ; chemical engine; 2 hand-engines; 6 escapes, etc., with 67 horses. The brigade cost for maintenance last year $234,660, including $285,000 interest upon loans, and $10,000 contribution to sinking fund. Salaries to permanent staff absorbed $116,540, payments to auxiliaries $5×395 and to theatre firemen $3,630. Towards the cost of brigade maintenance the government paid $68,335; insurance companies, $67,715. and municipalities $60,855. The cost to the municipalities was $1.37 per $500 rateable value; to the insurance companies, $22.50 per $500 premium income.