About 1.45 on Sunday morning last an alarm was conveyed to the Liverpool fire station that a large oat stack, the property of John GORE, a respectable farmer, at Roby, about 4 miles from Liverpool was on fire. The alarm was brought by a man on horseback who had been despatched, immediately the flames were discovered. In about 40 mins after he had reached the fire station, two of the Corporation engines, and one belonging to the West of England insurance-office, arrived at the spot and were brought into play. Lieut MAXWELL. R.N, Inspector of Salvage for the Liverpool insurance companies, proceeded to Roby in a coach, and, as usual rendered valuable assistance in extinguishing the flames.
Prior to the arrival of the engines several of the farmers and workmen of the neighbourhood were most actively engaged in throwing water upon a large haystack, which adjoined the oat stack, and in this manner succeeded in preventing the flames from extending beyond their original limits. In about an hour and a half after Mr MAXWELL reached the place the fire was completely subdued, but not before 200 bushels of very fine oats, part of the produce of a Cheshire acre and three-quarters of land were destroyed. The property was fortunately insured in the Atlas-office for £800.
There is but too much reason to believe that the stack was maliciously set on fire, for no fewer than five gates belonging to the adjoining fields, had been taken off their hinges and threw into the middle of the road, for the purpose, it is supposed, of impeding the progress of the engines to the place. The West of England engine came into contact with one of the gates, and was in danger of being overturned. Not far from the stack, about 40 yds a box of lucifer matches were found under a hedge.
Liverpool Mercury, Aug 14th 1878
About 4am yesterday, the alarm was given at the central fire station, Hatton Garden that a fire had broken out in the Angel Hotel, Dale St. A body of the fire brigade under Superintendent COPLAND and the salvage corps under Mr YELLAND, with the fire engines, reels, ladders etc, were soon on the spot and it was found that the fire had originated in the laundry and drying rooms of the hotel. The firemen and men of the salvage corps set to work, but, owing to the construction of the premises, considerable difficulty was experienced in getting to the seat of the fire, and at times there was danger of the flames reaching the adjoining offices and warehouses. The hotel at the time was full of visitors and the breaking out of the fire caused the greatest alarm among them. Fortunately by the energetic efforts of the brigade the fire was prevented from spreading, but considerable damage was done by fire and water to the hotel and some of the adjacent offices. The loss is said to be covered by insurance.
Liverpool Mercury, June 30th 1891
Retirement of Superintendent M'WILLIAM
At the weekly meeting of the Watch Committee yesterday, a letter was received from Superintendent M'WILLIAM, who since May 1880, has been at the head of the Fire Brigade stating that he desired to retire from the force in October next, when he will have shown 31 years service. General regret was expressed at the retirement of so able an officer, and it was decided to accept the resignation. Superintendent M'WILLIAM who is receiving £350 per annum, will have a retiring allowance of two-thirds of his salary. The committee decided to advertise for a superintendent to fill the impending vacancy. Of his 30 years service Mr M'WILLIAM has served 28 yrs in connection with fire brigade duties. When he first took part in the work of extinguishing fires the only appliances available were reels and manuals, and now the city possesses 5 steam fire engines, capable of throwing 320 to 1400 gallons of water per minute. The "Clint" was the first purchased in 1865, the "Livingston" in 1873 and then in 1884 two of the latest pattern were purchased, the "John Hughes" which can throw 1400 gals per minute, and the "Rathbone" Of the able services rendered by Mr M'WILLIAM frequent mention has been made, courtesy to superiors and those under him has always been a distinguishing feature of his character. He holds two diplomas one given by the Fire Brigade Association for bravery at the fire at Messers Lewis's buildings, Ranelagh St, and the other by the Humane Society for service at the great fire at Messers King and Heywoods drapery premises in Scotland Rd, when 35 inmates were rescued.
Liverpool Mercury, June 17th, 1893
St Helens Fire Brigade condemned
At the meeting of the St Helens Water Committee on Wednesday, Alderman J. C. GAMBLE, presiding, Mr RUTHERFORD, formerly of the Bootle Fire Brigade who has recently been appointed superintendent of the St Helens brigade, submitted his report of the fire at Mr CORRIN'S shop. The superintendent said that the present brigade ought to be thoroughly re-organised. One half of the brigade were too old and infirm, the brigade was really in a terrible state. They had no proper appliances, and no proper harness for the horses. They had not even any spare lines, and at the fire that morning he was on the roof, and instead of being let down he had to fall down. The hose was in a sad state, two-thirds of it was out of repair, and there was nothing to repair it with and no one to repair it. One half of the brigade were totally unfit for work. There were only really four firemen, two working men and two policemen, and he had to rely solely on those. The brigade wanted some fresh blood in it, it was behind an ordinary local board brigade. For his own credit he wanted re-organisation. He came there with some reputation as a fireman, but he was losing it through no fault of his own. The Chairman asked him to make out a full list of his requirements and send them to the water engineer [Mr GASKIN] and in the meantime the committee would inspect the appliances. The committee subsequently visited the brigade yard adjoining the Town Hall and Superintendent RUTHERFORD explained the appliances to them
Liverpool Echo, 15 May 1914
Fireman's Heroism, pulled away burning planks with naked hands A fire attended by serious possibilities broke out last night in a timber yard in Grafton Street, Liverpool, owned by Messrs. J. and W. Halloway. It was due to the prompt measures taken by the Hatton-garden fire brigade, under Chief Superintendent Weir and Deputy Superintendent M'Gregor. that the outbreak was subdued before a great amount of damage was done. A number of stacks of pitchpine were well alight when the brigade arrived on the scene, and at the risk of injury the firemen with their naked hands pulled away scores of burning planks in order to prevent the spread of the flames. This heroic work had a deserved success, for the water poured upon the pile readily reached the seat of the mischief and the fire was extinguished in an incredibly short time.
Liverpool Echo, 25 March 1915
EXITING SCENE IN LIVERPOOL STREET.
Three lives were lost, a man and his two children, and a boy seriously injured in a lire which occupied the Liverpool brigade the early hours this morning. The name of the deceased are: John FREDERICK, labourer. Willie FREDERICK, aged 11 and Lizzie FREDERICK, aged 9. Melbourne Place, Roscoe Lane was the scene of the disaster, which had not been paralleled in Liverpool for a considerable time. The fire broke out suddenly before dawn, and a passer by called the attention of the police to the outbreak.
There is a long narrow court here and the houses occupied by labouring people mostly, were fairly well filled with tenants. The occupants of the house in Melbourne St were named FREDERICK and consisted so far as is known of the father a labourer at Cammell Laird's, his mother, a girl and two boys. The fire brigade under Chief Supt WEIR arrived on the spot with speed and found flames and smoke belching from the building. There was a plentiful supply of water and the brigade soon gained the mastery.
When it was possible to penetrate the building the fire fighters entered the premises and found two of the children a girl aged 8 and a girl aged about 11 in the upper room. They were dead both being suffocated and partially burnt. Other members of the brigade found the man in the middle room of the building, he also had been suffocated and scorched.
To add to the horror of the scene a boy was seen at an upper window, 30 ft high calling for help. He was in a highly nervous condition and would have been rescued by the firemen had the chance been given, but he jumped from the high building into the court below, 30 ft, sustaining terrible injuries and was removed to the Royal Infirmary. The mother was not in the house at the time having gone to have an operation at the Homeopathic Hospital.
Liverpool Echo, 15 November 1915
PRESENTATION TO A LIVERPOOL FIREMAN.
At the headquarters of the Liverpool Fire Brigade, on Saturday, ex-Police-sergeant (48) H. Warburton, on his retirement from the force after twenty-six years service, was presented with a gold Albert and pendant by his comrades, and Mrs WARBURTON with a handbag. Chief Supt WEIR, in handing over the gifts, spoke of the sergeant's abilities as a fire fighter. Mr WARBURTON is the holder of the Humane Society's fire medal for saving life at a fire and a police good-conduct medal
Liverpool Echo, 31 December 1915
LIVERPOOL FIRE. BRIGADE'S GOOD SAVE CONGESTED AREA.
The Liverpool Fire Brigade effected this morning a wonderful save. Just as day was dawning the alarm was given that a fire had broken out in premises of Messrs. Wright, Crossley and Co, rice and spice millers, Rainford Square, an are congested with towering warehouses and offices. Crossley's mills are themselves very extensive, stretching a long way back to Harrington St and one end being almost wedged between a narrow entry and the offices and warehouses of dried fruit merchants in Matthew St.
Across the narrow entry run bridges connecting the premises affected by the fire with those of other warehouses. The communication doors giving access to these bridges were open and right from the outbreak of the fire flames began to lick their way through these doors assisted by the draught from the passage.
This was the position when the brigade appeared on the scene and began its task of limiting the mischief to the narrowest possible extent.
A Six storey building
The first to be attacked where the flames which were roaring through the communication doors on the high-placed passage bridges leading to Matthew St. The building stands six storeys high and the outbreak took place on No 1 floor.
The progress of the fire was rapid and the heat and smoke difficult to cope with, but the flames were forced back through the communication doors and the most serious danger to the adjoining building was over. The chances of confining the fire to the building in which it originated was much greater though even yet there was no cessation of the battle with the flames which leapt to an enormous height and scorched the wood and brickwork of the building on the opposite side of the narrow street.
The speed with which the fire burned was evidenced by the collapse of the floors and the falling in of the roof in the section first affected. It was in the collapse of one of these floors that one of the firemen was injured. Fortunately the injuries are said not to be serious.
It was only after three hours fight that the fire was eventually got under such control that it no longer constituted a menace to the network of buildings with which it was surrounded, and it is estimated that in this time water at the rate of 160,000 gallons an hour was being poured onto the burning mass.
Saved the cat
One incident stands out which shows that even in great fire-fights like this the firemen are not disregardful of even the most insignificant life. While forcing their way into one of the first doors the mewing of a cat was heard. The room was thick with smoke and sulphur fumes, but this notwithstanding Sergeant KELLOPS fought his way forwards to where the cat was lying. Its back was covered with molten lead, which had pored from the roof in consequence of the great heat.
After much difficulty the cat was carried out down the fire escape into Rainford Square, more dead than alive. It was then taken by a fireman to one of the fire-engines and warm water from one of the boilers was turned upon it. After this wash and a little general attention, pussy began to recover.
At noon the fire was still smouldering and it is likely to do so for the rest of the day, but Crossley's must certainly go down to the credit of Superintendent WEIR and the Liverpool fire brigades as one of the finest saves they ever effected. Firemen still at the building
The Hatton Garden men continued at their post throughout the afternoon under Chief Superintendent WEIR in case the smouldering material was not quite beyond a new outburst. Here and there wreaths of smoke issued from the building. Owing to a quantity of sulphur being in a cellar in Rainford Square, work was carried out with difficulty because of the fumes. It was impossible to say whether the ignited sulphur was floating on the top of the water in the cellar or burning in small masses.
It was arranged to pump out the flooded cellars when the firemen could get at any burning matter in nooks or corners of the building.
To estimate how much damage is done by the fire is as yet impossible, but the warehouse, which is practically gutted, contained much valuable stock, including spices now reigning at high prices. A rough estimate of the loss is about £60,000.
Liverpool Echo, 28 December 1915
May I express through the medium of your paper, my great admiration for the noble and humane action of Sergeant S. Killops in saving the, poor cat from the fire which took place it, Rainford-square. It is splendid object-lesson for the cause of animal protection, and such an example of heroism for one of God's defenceless creatures will doubtless bear good fruit, E.Y.W.J
Evening Telegraph, Aug 28th, 1930
Fire-fighting in the past
Liverpool Veteran's narrow escapes
Fall through roof.
Liverpool is to lose one of its most popular and experienced fire-fighters, he is Inspector John SANDHAM who retires after 35 years with the Fire Brigade. During this period he has attended more than 3000 fires. He has had countless escapes from death, taken part in innumerable rescues, and on one occasion was rescued in the nick of time by a colleague, when he was suspended on the roof of a burning building.
Mr SANDHAM joined the Lancashire Constabulary in 1892 and when Old Swan was incorporated with the city in 1895, he became a fireman of the Old Swan Brigade. In 1897 he was transferred to the Liverpool City Fire Brigade and attended one of the first fire calls received at the Hatton Garden Fire Station, which was opened in October 1899.
His popularity and skill in combating fires soon earned him promotion and in 1919 he was made Inspector. On the retirement of Inspector George WALL of Kildoman Road sub-station. Mr SANDHAM was appointed to succeed him, in charge of the Aigburth and Garston areas.
When Mr SANDHAM joined the Liverpool Fire Brigade, fire fighting was a slow process. "When I joined the Brigade," he said in an interview, " It often took us 20 minutes to half an hour to get all the pumps and branches working when we arrived at the scene of an outbreak. To-day the efficiency of the Liverpool Brigade has reached such a pitch that within five minutes of a call being received from any part of the city, a machine, with full equipment, will not only be in attendance, but will be working."
Mr SANDHAM was reluctant to disclose details of his fire-fighting experiences. He said, however, that he had attended the great Toxteth Dock Fire 23 or 28 ? years ago, the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse fire in 1915, when the brigade were in attendance for 39 hours, and the munition explosion at White Lund, near, Morecambe. "At the munition factory explosion," he said, "in addition to fire fighting under the worst possible conditions we were continually dodging the great shells and high explosives which screeched through the air and exploded in all directions. We were in attendance there for 60 hours and had only one slight rest during the whole of the period."
"Coming to recent times, the fire on the Oklahoma in the Liverpool Docks was one of our most difficult jobs, and I think every member of the Fire Brigade expected that the vessel would blow up at any minute."
Mr SANDHAM said that he had attended so many fires and like all other fire fighters, had, had, so many narrow squeaks that he had forgotten most of them. On one occasion, however, at a warehouse fire in 1915, he was working on the roof, when he fell through, and found himself hanging with one hand on to a steel bar. His plight was seen by a colleague, who crawled along the roof and rescued Mr SANDHAM in the nick of time.
The inspector has vivid recollections of the series of fires in Liverpool during the Sinn Fein disturbances, when for some considerable period, they were on duty almost night and day.
Mr SANDHAM in addition to holding Long Service and Good Conduct Medals, is an Associate of the Institute of Fire Engineers.
Sergeant J. WILSON of the Liverpool Fire Brigade, who has been district sergeant at the Old Swan sub-station for 7 years, is also retiring. He joined the Liverpool Police Force in 1902 and was transferred to the Fire Brigade in 1912. 8 years later he was promoted to sergeant. Mr WILSON holds the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society's medal for stopping a runaway horse at the Prince's Landing Stage and some time ago he received a bar to this medal for rescuing an elderly woman from a house which was on fire in Scotland Rd. Mr WILSON also holds the Good Conduct Medal.
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