The Annual Report of the Manchester Fire Brigade
From over the water comes the report of the Manchester, England, Fire Brigade, Arthur R. Corlett, chief, for the year 1917. The total number of alarms of fire which the brigade have attended during the past year has been 619, an increase of 56 on the previous year; of these, 519 were fires, and 100 were false or chimney alarms. The total loss was estimated at £208,136, and the value of the property risk £5,688,040. As compared with last year, there has been a total increase of £477,771 in the amount at ri-k, a decrease of £181,445 in the amount of loss, and an increase of 67 in the number of fires attended.
As compared with the annual average of the past twenty years, there has been an increase of £1,203,706 in the amount at risk, an increase of £67,052 in the amount of loss, and an increase of 11 in the number of fires attended within the city Motor pumps have been worked at nine fires within and two beyond the city boundaries, and have proved, as in the past, very efficient. The fire boat “Firefly” responded to nine calls during the year, and was worked on three occasions. Among the fires attended by the fire boat, the most important were at the British Oil Cake Mills Company’s premises; the S. S. “Dungeness” and the S. S. “Zingara.” On two of these occasions the fire boat rendered valuable service in supplying a number of efficient streams of water. The fire on the S. S. “Zingara” presented some difficulty, the vessel being loaded with a cargo of sugar, alight in the lower hold, which could not be extinguished without seriously damaging the cargo in the between decks. Eventually it was decided to cut away a portion of the plating of the vessel’s side, thus enabling the firemen to get through the opening so made and reach and extinguish the fire. Among the most serious fires attended by the brigade during the year, mention should be made of the fire, followed by an explosion, which destroyed the works of the Hooley Hill Chemical Company, Ashton-underLyne, and caused great damage to surrounding property, as well as considerable loss of life. Also at a serious fire and explosion at a munitions factory in the north of England, the detachment from this brigade, in conjunction with various other brigades, were successful, in face of great danger, in saving a valuable portion of the works, and received the thanks of the minister of munitions. In November a serious fire, unfortunately attended by considerable loss of life, took place at the Manchester Board of Guardians’ Institution, Delaunay’s Road, Crumpsall. This occurred in a wooden annex, which was practically destroyed prior to the arrival of the brigade, who were successful in preventing serious damage to the surrounding portions of the institution. In October a 350-gallon motor pump was added to the plant, and has proved efficient in every way. The general plant of the department has been maintained in a state of efficiency by members of the brigade. This branen of the work is an ever-increasing one. No. 2 six-cylinder motor pump, purchased in 1911, has been thoroughly overhauled and new parts fitted where necessary. All the other motor engines have been kept in good running order. The public institutions throughout the city have been visited by an officer from the department once every three months, who has inspected the fire apparatus and reported thereon, and has also drilled the staffs at the Royal Infirmary, Ancoats Hospital, the Guardians’ Institutions at Withington, Crumpsall and Blackley, and at Cheadle Royal Asylum. 721 visits have been paid to the various places of public amusement by officers of the department, and complaints sent in cases where irregularities have occurred. The authorized strength of the brigade is 130 men, but owing to the war the staff is depleted by 46 men, and any further reduction would most seriously impair the efficiency of the department. There are three of the waterworks officers employed who receeive a weekly allowance from the watch committee. They reside at or near the fire engine stations, and on the occasion of a fire render important assistance in regulating the supply and pressure of water. The apparatus of the brigade consists of five combined horse hose carriage and “escapes” (ladder trucks) ; one 82-foot horse escape, without hose; one combination electric light and air pump; nine petrol (gasoline) motor fire engines, and three tenders. There are only six horses now in use. A fire boat operates on the ship canal.