The Fire Department at Santiago

The Fire Department at Santiago

According to U. S. Consular reports, Santiago, Chile, has twelve fire companies, two possessing automobile engines and one an automobile ladder truck. Another company is to receive an automobile ladder soon. Each company has two paid men and about 25 to 30 volunteers. The police receive the alarms and notify the fire station. The apparatus leaves the station most generally about 40 seconds to one minute after the alarm, and there are usually five or six volunteers waiting at the scene of the fire. In the center of the city there are three or four fire hydrants in each block, which measure 410 feet each way. Outside the center there are generally two or three hydrants to each block. At present the hydrants are not in very good condition, about 25 per cent, being out of order, but all hydrants are now being overhauled and put in working order. The water pressure in the city varies from 30 pounds in the morning to 40 pounds at night. In 1912 there were 74 alarms in Santiago; the services of the department were necessary only in 58 cases, the rest of the fires having been extinguished before the arrival of the department. The total loss was $332,802. Alarms were given as follows: For factories, 16; for dwellings, hospitals, colleges, etc., 29; for commercial establishments, 29. In 1913 there were 58 alarms. The losses caused by the 33 fires at which the services of the department were necessary totalled $289,511. Excluding three large fires with losses of more than $30,000 each, the average loss for the remaining 30 fires was $5,409 each. Fires occurred as follows: In factories, 10; in dwellings, hospitals, cilleges, etc., 27; in commercial establishments, 21. In 1914 there were 64 alarms, for 47 of which the services of the department were necessary. Most of the buildings in Santiago are of one-story and many of two stories. In the center of the city there are a number of three-story buildings and a very few four-story buildings. Most of the oneand two-story buildings are of what is known as light construction; i. e., wooden walls plastered with mud or cement or adobe blocks with wooden partitions. Most of the buildings of solid construction are three and four stories high. The roofs of practically all buildings are tile or corrugated iron.

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