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FIRE PREVENTION., Evening Post, Volume LXXI, Issue 128, 31 May 1906
WELLINGTON'S SITUATION. ADVOCACY OF MOTOR ENGINES. One of the motor chemical fire-engines for which Superintendent Hugo has pleaded very strenuously te to arrive in Wellington next week, from the firm of Merryweather. Mr. J. H. Osborne, a representative of this famous house, who happened to be in Wellington yesterday, waa discovered by a Post reporter, and was asked for an account of the latest developments in lire prevention. At the outset the visitor said that he had passed through several towns in New Zealand which had very fair high-pressure services, and had noticed a tendency to place too much dependence on them. He would particularly like to point out in a fireprevention scheme, a town should ha^e more than one string to ite bow. If a high-pressuvj service happened to fail, there should be mechanical means available to repress a fire. As an example of a city with exceptional foresight, Liverpool, which had one of the finest highpressure services in the world, had also th° most powerful steam fire-engine in the world, ono built by Messrs. Merryweather and Sons. In fact tho city had two engines 'capable of throwing close on ten tons of water a minute each at a high pressure. He was glad to see that the superintendent of tho Wellington Fire Brigade, Mr. Hugo, realised the importance of the duplicate provision. In addition to the high-pressure system, this city had two powerful engines, and was importing a motor chemical engine from the Merryweather firm, which would undoubtedly prove of great utility to the town for attacking fires on the heights. Another point which he wished to em phasise waa that horse traction was doomed so far as firo engines were concerned. The chief reasons were the matter of economy and the superior efficiency of the motor, especially on hilly areas, where it was difficult for horses to travel. The application of motor traction to firo appliances had been a great revolution in the past few years, he continued. When his firm first introduced motor fire ap pliances, about five years ago, it-met with no more encouragement than was usually given to startling innovations, but the firm was quite sure of its ground. For years previously it had been quietly, but surely, carrying on experiments involving the expenditure of a large sum of money before the apparatus was perfected sufficiently to bo placed on the market. Now, .however, the motor fire-en-gine was so well appreciated by the chiefs of brigades that the firm had had to add to its works for the construction of motor appliances specially. One of the earliest places in the world to take a motor steam fire-engine was Wanganui. Since then, they had bten greeted with tremendous favour, so much so that the London brigade, after very exhaustive testa, had just ordered three steam motor fire-engines, also a petrol-motor hosecarriage and a petrol-motor fire-escape. Liverpool had just ordered its fifth motorengine. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Plymouth, and other cities also had these appliances. Melbourne and Sydney each had a couple of these motors, and Brisbane had one. Even Singopore and Penang had just adopted them. From a • fire-protection point of viewhe considered that Wellington was one of the 1 most difficult cities to safeguard that he had ever seen, owing, of course, to the extraordinarily hilly nature of the settlement, th© narrow, tortuous streets, and vo the serious character of a great many of the local risks involved. Bearing in mind the limited appliancss which Superintendent Hugo had at his disposal, he thought that the way in which fires were kept down was altogether exceptional. He thought that the motor fire-engine that was coming to Wellington would bo the forerunner of many more. He considered that this city ought to have, at the very least, half-a-dozen motor chemicals suitably distributed over the settlement. ' ' Referring to the working parts of the motor engine, he mentioned that' there was an idea prevalent in tho public mind that it was nothing more or less than an ordinary motor car with some sort of a fire appliance added. The truth was that these were machines built at Merryweather's works, specially' designed, constructed, and strengthened throughout to withstand the same strain to which fire appliances were bound • to be subjected, , - Answering Ja question concerning his robservations qn the attitudes of various places with regard t,o fire prevention, Mr. Osborne stated that in one respect New Zealand had started wpll. Comparatively speaking, this country had been one of the first to realise the- advantages of chemical engines for tho extinction j>f incipient fires. Every fire had a beginning. If the brigade reached the scene in time — and it could by using a i motor chemical engine — the outbreak could be suppressed more quickly and •with much less damage than if reliance was placed on water alone. In his opinion, though Wellington needed morm plant, this city in fire-prevention apparatus was ahead of other New Zealand towns which he had passed through up to the present. Japan, .Mr. Osborne remarked, was jm porting tip-to-dats fire plant from the Merryweathers. The 'fire-extinction arrangements in the towns had been rather primitive till quite recently, but now the qpvernmont departments were tak- ! Ing precautions to ensure property agamat fire by securing good machinery. Replying to a final question, Mr. Os borne said that he had visited the Wellington fire brigade station, and had been struck by the- admirable arrangement of everything and tho solid, busi-ness-like appearance which characterised the place. Superintendent Hugo was the right man for his -post, and it the city corporation only gave him the encouragement he> deserved— and it seemed to be doing so by importing the chemical motor — there was no doubt that the fire brigade, under his supervision, would eventually become as perfect as was humanly possible.
FIRE PREVENTION., Evening Post, Volume LXXI, Issue 128, 31 May 1906
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