THE MANILA FIRE DEPARTMENT
No disastrous fires occurred in Manila, Philippine Islands, during the year 1916. One hundred and five fires occurred in the city during the year, which is six less than in 1915 and sixteen less than in 1914. The report of Acting Chief O. L. Vanderford for the year states that in addition to the above the fire department responded to six false alarms and to five alarms for fires beyond the city limits. The report, dated January 31, 1917, states that the chief of the department, Lewis A. Dingman, was on an extended leave of absence in the United States, receiving medical treatment, his physical condition being mostly due to his long and meritorious services rendered the department. The personnel of the department was: One chief, one deputy chief, one chief of construction and repairs, one mechanic, eight captains, nine lieutenants, three engineers first class, eleven engineers second class, 19 firemen first class, 70 firemen second class, three clerks. The electrical division consists of: One city electrician, one assistant city electrician, one superintendent of fire and police alarm systems, one electrical inspector one foreman of outside construction, three clerks
Apparatus and Equipment.
The department has 25,400 feet of 2 1/2-inch fire hose, 2,950 feet of 1 1/2-inch fire hose and 650 feet of 3/4-inch chemical hose in service. The apparatus of the department consists of the following: Two steam fire engines, Metropolitan, equipped with Christie tractors, capacity 750 gallons per. minute. Three steam fire engines, Metropolitan, equipped with Christie tractors, capacity 500 gallons per minute. Two combination pumping engine and hose wagons, Webb, capacity 900 gallons per minute; hose carrying capacity 1,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch fire hose. Three combination chemical and hose wagons, White, equipped with 35 gallons chemical tank; hose carrying capacity 1,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch fire ho’e. Two combination chemical and hose wagons, Alco, equipped with 35 gallons chemical tank; hose carrying capacity 1,400 feet of 2 1/2-inch fire hose. Three hose wagons, Alco; hose carrying capacity 1,200 feet of 2 1/2inch fire hose. One aerial ladder truck, American-La France, equipped with 75-foot extension ladder. One city service ladder truck, Seagrave, equipped with 50-foot extension ladder. Two fire pumps installed on launches “Jolo” and “Ethel,” capacity 900 gallons per minute. Two fuel wagons, Alco. One supply wagon, White. One chief’s motor, White; One deputy chief’s motor, Cadillac. One chief of construction and repairs’ motor, White. One city electrician’s motor, Hudson; One superintendent of fire and police alarm systems’ motor, Buick. One electrical inspector’s motor, Buick. One electrical repair truck, Alco. One chief’s motor (reserve), White, was transferred to the Department of Engineering and Public Works.
Fires and Fire Loss.
The 105 fires of the year were divided as follows as to the districts: Binondo, 12; Ermita, 11; El Puerto, 2; lntrainuros, 3; Malatc, 9; Paco, 1; Pandacan, 2; Quiapo, 4; Sampaloc, 4; San Miguel, 5; San Nicolas, 13; Santa Ana, 4; Santa Cruz, 20; Tondo, 15. The value of the total property involved was: Buildings, $2,525,720 and contents, $2,000,515. The losses amounted to only $132,025 on buildings and $313,346 on contents. Acting Chief Vanderford states that the water supply has been adequate at all fires; seventeen new fire hydrants were installed, making a total of seven hundred and eleven fire hydrants in service, with a pressure at the hydrants of from thirty-two to forty-five pounds. Regular inspections of each district were made by the proper officers and fire hydrants were inspected monthly by opening the valves and flushing out the plugs.
Causes of Fires.
Causes of fires were: Carlessness in drying wet firewood on a native stove, 1; carelessness in handling gasoline, 4; carelessness in filling lighted lamp, 1; coals which dropped out of charcoal flat-iron, 1; defective electric wiring, 4; explosion of alcohol lamp, 3; explosion of alcohol stove, 2; explosion of gasoline, 2; explosion of gasoline tank, 2; explosion of cooking pitch after becoming ignited, 1; explosion of oil lamp, 3; explosion of oil stove, 1; hot iron left on clothes, 1; incendiary, 2; incendiary, supposed, 4; leaking carburator, 1; lighted candle ignited curtain, 1; lighted candle overturned, 1; Lighted cigarette, 2; lighted lamp ignited paper on wall, 1; lighted lamp overturned, 1; lighted matches, 1; lightning striking wires leading into building, 1; loose electrical connection and flooded carburator, 1; overboiling sugar, 1; overboiling tar, 2; overheating automobile engine, 1; overheating of charcoal in fire place under dry kiln used for drying sugar, 1; rekindling of fire, 1; rubbish fires, 1; short circuit high tension fuse block to transformer, 1; small fire underneath drying closet, 1; soot in chimney caught fire, 1; soot in stove pipe, 1; sparks from chimney ignited vines, 1; sparks from stove pipe, 1; spontaneous combustion, 3; transformer, electric, 1; unknown, 50.
Acting Chief Vanderford renew’s the recommendation made by Chief Dingman for the erection of a new fire station in a more advantageous location, to take the place of the present station in the Walled City, and says: The present building is a one-story structure, the men have to sleep on the ground floor and in the opinion of the undersigned it is unhealthy and unsanitary. Extensive repairs would he necessary to place it in a healthy condition. The present location is unsatisfeatory, as it is not centrally located sufficient for the proper protection of the W’alled City or the new Port District, as the latter district is built up it will require more adequate fire protection. It is not advisable, therefore, to make the necessary and extensive repairs to the old building occupied at present. A new site should be selected at a centrally located point, between the new port district and the walled city, which would give both districts better fire protection than they have at present and would eliminate the necessity for an additional station for the protection of the Port District. He commends the members of the fire department for their devotion to duty and the support ungrudgingly given in maintaining the efficiency of the department.