Treasuring a Centenarian Fire Engine

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By Chronicler

KARACHI

Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s Central Fire Station has been showcasing an antique piece of engine of a different variety. It is basically over a century old fire engine, which is being preserved as relic of the past at its central fire station, near another historic structure Civil Hospital.

In 1914 central fire station was setup by British regime in Karachi which was also made headquarter of the fire department besides keeping its status as fire station. It was the first fire station that was setup in Karachi which was equipped with two fire engines for fire fighting.

Both these engines were made by Merewether Dennis Company made in England. An engine of those times is being exhibited by the fire department at premises of the central fire station.

This engine used to consume petrol as its fuel and it has no place to store water in it like the modern fire tenders of today. It has four solid wheels with rubber layer on them which resembles with the wheels of nowadays horse driven Victoria or Tanga Gari.

A fire pump was used for sucking water from any reservoir and with motor-made pressure it used to extinguish fire in case of any fire incident. It has extension ladder which could also be used separately. The entire length of ladder was sufficient enough for fire fighting of as high as four storey building of that time.

Generally this fire engine had a crew consisting of a driver, six to eight fire fighters, an officer and a leading fireman. Nowadays the central fire station which still operates as headquarter of the fire department is equipped with two fire tenders, two snorkels and with a rescue unit and a crew of many members that run the affairs of the fire station.

The fire station of Saddar was setup in 1935-36 till than the central fire station was the only fire station of the city.

According to sources in fire department this fire engine remained part of rescue operation till 1940 to 1947 when modern fire fighting vehicles replaced it. In past there have been many rumors about it that someone from a European country had offered the fire department to take two modern fire tenders against exchanging this one.

Upon investigations, these rumors turned out to be merely rumors as the authorities concerned never got as such offer from anyone. Besides having possession like this fire engine the fire department has other antiques items as well. This is learnt a request would be placed to authorities concerned for setting a museum for as such antiques in days to come.

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