Op the many organisations winch, have been the outgrowth of the conditions of joi^ civilisation and the necessities of modern times, not the least useful and praiseworthy is that of the Fire' Brigade. Nearly every centre of population of any magnitude throughout the world now possesses such a body, and to their self-denying .and philanthropic action in voluntarily banding themselves together for " the protection of life and property we owe much of the security of our. ..cities against the incursions of an element which is proverbially a bad master though a good servant. And New Zealand is not behind other countries, in comparison to the stage of her development, in this respect, the Fire Brigades of our cities and principal towns being well-organised bodies of men very fairly equipped for the work which they have upon occasion to perform. Few persons are, however, aware 'of the magnitude of that oi'ganisation as a whole, and it will surprise many to note the figures on this head which are supplied in the annual return of the Fire Brigades Association for 1889. From this we learn that there are in the .Colony no less than 50 affiliated brigades, the date of whose establishment ranges over a period of 33 years, viz., 1857 to 1889. These Brigades have 156 officers and 902 men, of whom 50 reside at Brigade stations. Tlkey own 12 steam, ,44 manual, and 3 canvas engines," 19' ladder escapes, 11 fire escapes; and 96 hose reels. The district ; under protection aggregates 39,151 acres, with a population of 131,727 persons, and the stations,which number 78, are valued at ,£20,149, the' plant being set down at thp further sum of £29,571. Thp properties of five brigades are held upon trust,thoseof two belonging to the Government, and of 4 to the brigades themselves, in all other (the large majority of) cases to the different Municipal Councils. The' total number of fires reported during the year was 332, and of these the causes are set down as follows, viz : Caused by chemicals 1, by fireworks 1, by gas explosions 5, by accident 34, by hot ashes 9, by naked lights, ,settin<>fire to blinds and curtains 15, by clothos drying 3, by nils 1, by smoking"!, by bush iircs J, by glue or oil boiling ovor 2, by lamps exploding 8, by rubbishburning 3, by arson 3, by children playing with matches 9, by overheating
i, by defective chimneys 11, while 220 were either attributed to unknown causes or were mere -chimney fires. The list represents a pretty large tale of work, and the sum,set down as the annual cost, of the' brigades is a small one in relation thereto, viz., £7244.
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FIRE BRIGADES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2409, 24 April 1890
FIRE BRIGADES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2409, 24 April 1890
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