§ MR. ISAACS (Newington, Walworth)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether his attention has been directed to the large number of fires which occurred in the Metropolis on the 3rd instant, principally in the City and the Eastern Districts of London; whether he is aware that the pressure on the resources of the Fire Brigade was almost unparalleled in its severity, and that the stations at Mile End and Poplar were exhausted both as to horses and engines; and, whether, having regard to the safety of life and property involved, he will afford facilities for discussing the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Expenses Bill now before this House? The hon. Gentleman also asked, Whether the right hon. Gentleman's attention has been directed to the following description of the inadequacy of the resources of the Fire Brigade Establishment of the Metropolis, which appeared in the newspapers of yesterday, giving an account of the fire which occurred on Saturday last at the establishment of Messrs. Whiteley, Queen's Road, Bayswater:—The pressure upon the Fire Brigade authorities at this time was enormous, and may well claim very serious attention for Londoners. There was not a station in the A District but had its engines out, and there was not a single steamer left at home in the district. The D or South of the Thames District was in a similar position, not having a steamer left to cope with any fire which might break out; and the Clerkenwell or City District, and the C or Whitechapel District, were also almost totally denuded of all appliances, and were put to extraordinary straits. There had been 34 steamers, six manuals, three hose carts, four extension 1725 ladders, one coal van, and 173 men sent on to the fire, and now messengers were running between the horse contractors and the stations to borrow horses and coachmen, and other calls for fires kept coming in from other districts in a most extraordinary manner. The men at headquarters had to turn out to a fire in the Borough, Kennington Lane Station received another call, the firemen in the East End were so busy in turning out for the ringing of fire alarms and calls by strangers that the Mile End Station was shut up, opened again, and shut up a second time within half-an-hour, while the Holloway Station also had to he closed, and affairs were in as dangerous a condition as it is possible to imagine them;and, whether, in view of the facts there described, he will give an opportunity of considering the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Expenses Bill, now before this House, during the present Session?
§ THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
The Government will be quite willing and ready to afford such facilities as may be in their power for the consideration of any measure to meet any emergency which they have reason to believe will be accepted by the House. It remains for the Metropolitan Board of "Works to take such steps as they think best, in order to obtain the general favour of the House to further the object they have in view. It is obvious that the Government have no control over Members who think it their duty to block a measure of this kind; and I hope the Board will exercise discretion and judgment in presenting a measure the contents of which appear open to objection.