DIRECTOR   Mervin Buday


1769. Could you give the Committee the proportion of fires that you believe to be incendiary, or wilful, from 1852 to 1866 ?—I have a table here showing my view of the proportion, but I have not got a correct account of that; it is not possible to get a very correct account, because different people who would have the reporting of fires may have different views with regard to the causes. I might think this is a very suspicious case, and say it should be called incendiarism. Another man attending the same kind of fire might call it an unknown or untraced fire, rather than almost charge the man with a crime. A great many of the unknown fires are wilful fires; at least we think so, from the circumstances eurrounding them. 1770. But your impression is that there has been a large increase of incendiary fires ?—There is no doubt of it. 1771. You, from the position which you hold in the salvage corps, and from being an officer of the fire brigade, have directed your attention to the means of extinguishing fires?—Yes, very much so. 1772. Do you think that the supply of water in London is sufficient for fire purposes ?—It is altogether very unsatisfactory. 1773. Is it unsatisfactory with regard to the quantity, the pressure, or with respect to both particulars ?—Both, I should say, decidedly. 1774. You think, however, that the pressure is certainly deficient ?—I do not think if the mains were continually charged, it would be found so very deficient; but the mains are not constantly charged, therefore we find a great want of water, whether the pressure could be applied Or not; it is not always so. 1775. Mr. Kinnaird.] Will you explain to the Committee what is the state of the mains; when is the pressure on ?—Simply when the mains are charged by the turncocks, in most instances. 1776. That is only at certain times of the day; very early in the morning, is it?—It does not follow because the water supply to a house is not on, that there is no water in the street; there is water in the mains, perhaps, and it might be available if the cocks which supply those mains through the intermediate streets were turned on, but that is not the case. 1777. What are the motives of companies for not keeping the mains charged ?—I believe it has been said that the internal fittings to the houses are not in good order, and they are afraid of keeping the mains charged for fear there should be a great waste of water, which no doubt there would be, unless the fittings were in good order.