Home -> About Us -> Historical Perspective
    Photo GalleryHISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE :

As per records available in this Directorate, Fire Service in the State was first introduced in 1908 with the formation of a Madras City Fire Brigade which consisted of some steam or manually operated engines stationed in important parts of the City. They were maintained by the Corporation of Madras together with a skeleton crew of one driver, 2 cleaners and four lascars, for each unit. The fire fighting personnel were drawn from the Police Reserve and the Brigade was under the Commissioner of Police. Three serious fires took place in August 1908 which caused considerable damage to Government property. The first major fire engine was commissioned in Madras City in 1914 and two more in 1915 and one in 1934, taking the total to four.

In 1940, a serious fire at the All India Congress exhibition caused damage to the extent of lakhs of rupees. This resulted in further improvement to the service. The old engines were replaced by Dennis turbine motor Fire Pump and two Dennis Trailer Pumps.

The War in Europe had then been in progress for nearly a year and an Air Raid Precaution Scheme for the City of Madras was organised. Fire fighting was considered to be a part of the Air Raid Precaution and an Auxiliary Fire Service was built up under the fire of the ARP Controller. The Regular Fire Service was under the Commissioner of Police.

In December 1941, Government decided to integrate all Fire fighting force into one service and appointed a Deputy Commissioner of Police to take charge of all fire units. The officer was assistant to the ARP Controller but under the general control of the Commissioner of Police.

With the deterioration in the War in 1942, it became necessary to have fire fighting units in large number of towns in the State. There was a shortage of Officers, who had any experience to do this kind of work. So in 1942, on the request of Government of Madras, Government of India sent Thiru. W.A Tozer, who was experienced and who was Director of Fire Service, Burma, to Madras. He was appointed as Head of Fire Service in Madras and the Department was separated from Police.

The Auxiliary Fire Service consisted of recruits mostly from the upper classes who volunteered to serve as ordinary Fireman. It was intended that the men should be part time volunteers who would get 8 annas per day for each practice turn out or fire call. The time had come when the Auxiliary Fire Service had to be organised into a full time paid service, to cope up with the war situation. The volunteer service was expanded and most of the business houses in the City were approached to encourage members of their staff to join and to attend Fire Service exercises. The volunteers came from every walk of life. They consisted of Judges of the High Court, Barristers, Advocate, bankers, brokers, Director of leading business houses, Government officials, Doctors of Law, Merchants Assistants and the rich and the poor. No where else could be found such a wide range of interests blended together by the desire to serve. Although volunteers, their work extended to attendance at ordinary Civil fires. Their professional and business work got neglected and they became the backbone of the Fire Service.

Towards the later part of 1942, 58 officers and men of the National Fire Service arrived in Madras from the U.K., in four batches. These fully trained and experienced officers played a great part in working the new organisation. They were first posted to the City, but as more of them became available they were posted to stations in the mufassal also. They helped to organise each station mostly on the lines established by the National Fire Service in London and contributed in a large measure for the training of officers and personnel.

In the mufassal, there were no Fire engines excepting the Municipal Watering vans, which were so equipped that they could be used as elementary fire engines in the event of a fire.

As the war situation in the eastern theatre deteriorated, it was found necessary to extend the Air Raid Precaution to some important towns in the mufassal. As had originally been the case in the City, each town had its Fire Service section as part of the Air Raid Precaution organisation, under the charge of the Air Raid Precaution Controller, with a Police Officer, in most cases, in charge.

As the Air Raid Precaution organisation expanded in the mufassal, it was placed under a Police Officer with the designation of DIG, Civil Defence. From time to time DIF, Civil Defence obtained the assistance of the Director of Fire Service and a number of inspection were made for the purpose of improving the fire fighting section of the Air Raid Precaution.

It then became clear that the fire fighting in the mufassal, just as in the City, ought to be separated from the Air Raid Precaution entirely. On November 6, 1942, Government decided to create the Madras Fire Service. Each unit was to be known as a station and bear the name of the town which it served. The Director of Fire Service whose jurisdiction was hitherto confined to the City of Madras Civil Defence . Area, was appointed the head of the new Department. He was responsible for the administration of the State assisted by Chief Regional Fire Officers.

During the war, the Department had grown considerably. The necessity for the organisation of an adequate and efficient Fire Service through out the State had been proved by the steady increase in the number of genuine fire calls, in the sections of the Fire Service already opened and the Fire Service fully justified itself in reducing to a minimum the loss of property due to fire. It was decided that the surplus equipment necessary for war time protection should be retained after the war and used for the protection of other Towns which hitherto had no fire fighting arrangements. The surplus Air Raid Precaution ambulances was also transferred to the fire service. Thus it became a Fire and Ambulance Service. By that time most of the National Fire Service officers were repatriated to United Kingdom on the completion of their contract for one year. The few who were left, were placed in Supervisory Control for two or three stations.

The Madras Fire Service was functioning as a separate service from 06.11.42 to 30.09.49. On the termination of the contracts of the remaining National Fire Service Officers, who were occupying the post of Director of Fire Service, Chief Regional Fire Officer and Divisional Officers, Government on recommendation of the Retrenchment and Reorganisation Committee, abolished the posts, vide G.O Ms. No. 3336 Public (FS) Department dated 28.09.49, the Fire Service formed as a separate wing of the Police Department and placed under the control Inspector General of Police from 01.10.49.

It had the following set-up :

Range

Districts Covered

Northern Range

Vishakapattinam North  
Vishakapattinam South  
Godavari East  
Godavari West  
Krishna  
Guntur  
Nellore

Central Range

Cuddapah  
Ananthapuram  
Bellary  
Kurnool  
Chengelpet  
Chitoor  
North Arcot  

Southern Range

South Arcot  
Thanjavur  
Madurai Urban  
Madurai Rural  
Ramnad-Sivagangai  
Thirunelveli

Western Range

Trichy  
Coimbatore  
Theni  
Salem  
South Kanara  
Malabar

Madras City

Egmore  
Guindy  
High Court  
Kilpauk  
Triplicane  
Teynampet  
Vepery  
Washermenpet

Fire Service was organised as an adjunct of the Air Raid Precaution Service during the last World War. It became a peace time organisation in 1943 vide G.O. Ms. No. 2530/Public (Civil Defence) Department dated 04.09.43. In G.O. Ms. No. 229 Public (Civil Defence) Department dated 24.01.44 Government approved the establishment of Fire Service in 60 Municipal Towns apart from 24 which were already existing in the old Presidency. Important stations were under Station Officers and other stations were under sub officers. Fire Service in more than one Revenue District were placed under a Divisional Officer. There were three regions :

North           Headquarters Vijayawada         8 Fire Stations
Central                                Madras                9 Fire Stations
West                                   Coimbatore       18 Fire Stations

The regions were under Chief Regional Fire Officers. At Madras, the Director of Fire Service was the Head of the Department. This was the arrangement till 01.10.49 when it came under the Inspector General of Police, as a measure of economy. The Fire Service in the Range came under the Deputy Inspector General. The District Superintendent of Police was controlling the Fire Units at the District level. This was the set up till 30.06.59. vide order of Government vide G.O. 1724 Home Dated 16.06.59, with effect from 01.07.59, the control over the Fire Service by the Police Officers was removed. Two Chief Fire Officer were appointed for the regions and the State was divided into two regions.

Chief Fire Officer , Northern Range also functioned as Personnel Assistant to Director of Fire Service. Both the Chief Fire Officers were located at Madras.

In 1966 the Chief Fire Officers of the Regions were re-designated as Deputy Directors. Both were in Madras. The Chief Fire Officer of the Northern Region was upgraded as Additional Director of Fire Service vide G.O. 2017 Home dated 17.06.66. The Additional Director of Fire Service was re-designated as Director of Fire Service from 04.10.67 and he was made the Head of Department again vide G.O. 2802 Home dated 04.10.67.

There were 67 Fire Stations in 1970 apart from 8 Administrative Officers, Workshop and State Training School.

In 1945 there were 55 Fire Stations. vide G.O. Ms. No. 1281 Home dated 01.06.70, 44 Towns were approved for opening Fire Stations. vide G.O. Ms. No 2276 Home dated 17.08.71, one more post of Deputy Director was formed. In 1959, the Fire Stations and Divisions were separated from the control of local Police Officers but the over all control was with the Inspector General of Police.

There were 86 Temple Tanks and private ponds in the city with approach roads. 90 static water tanks, 8 other tanks, 1 experimental tank and 31 under ground reinforced storage tanks were constructed in different parts of the City. 62 more static water tanks were under construction. The Buckingham Canal and the Coovum river were made use of by construction of sumps at suitable places on their banks. There was a fire float. Arrangements were made to keep their water level by pumping sea water. Storm water drains were filled with water for fire fighting purpose.

In 1945, Government ordered the organising of a Peace time Fire Service to cover all municipal towns (84). Government also took over the full protection of the harbour at Madras.

In 1951, as per G.O. Ms. No. 429 Home Dated 02.02.51, the jurisdiction of District. Fire officer was revised. They were posted in-charge of important Districts, while Station Officers were placed in-charge of less important ones. The Divisional Fire Officers and Station Officers were placed under the control of the District Superintendent of Police.

In 1951 - In order to educate the people living in rural areas in the functions and usefulness of Fire Stations and to minimise the occurrence of fires, a voluntary organisation of Village Fire Watching and Fire Fighting squad was ordered, with the assistance of local Police Officers. 11,760 villages were covered in this manner.

Since the standards of disciplines in the districts manned by Station Officers was poor, vide G.O. 2797 Home Department Dated 02.09.53, the local Sub Divisional Police Officers were given the powers to supervise the work of the fire stations.

At the instance of the Government of India, Fire Prevention Week, the first of its kind in the country was observed between 26.10.56 and 01.11.56, with the object of making people realise their responsibilities in this sphere.

The Following are the Directors of Fire Service, from 1944 onwards till date :

 

NAME

PERIOD

 

Tvl.

From

To

1.

C.R. HADINGHAM

14.12.44

30.09.49

2.

T.G. SANJEVI

1949

1953

3.

J. DEVASAHAYAM

1953

1954

4.

V. R. RAJA RATHNAM

1954

1957

5.

S. BALAKRISHNA SHETTY, I.P.

1957

1964

6.

R.M. MAHADEVAN, I.P.

1964

1966

7.

F.V. ARUL, I.P.

01.07.66

05.10.67

8.

JOHN KOSHI

06.10.67

21.02.69

9.

M.A.S. MOHAJIR

22.02.69

19.08.70

10.

A. RAPHAEL

20.08.70

08.09.70

11.

M.A.S. MOHAJIR

09.09.70

02.01.73

12.

R. NITYANANDAM

03.01.73

31.01.75

13.

I. RATHINASWAMI

01.02.75

20.04.77

14.

K. BHASKARA, I.P.S.

21.04.77

30.06.77

15.

I. RATHINASWAMI, I.P.S.

01.07.77

24.10.78

16.

K. BHASKARA, I.P.S.

25.10.78

17.10.79

17.

NEWTON DEVASAHAYAM, I.P.S.

18.10.79

31.12.81

18.

D. KRISHNAN, I.P.S.

01.01.82

16.03.83

19.

R.L HANDA, I.P.S.

17.03.83

31.03.83

20.

D. KRISHNAN, I.P.S.

01.04.83

31.05.83

21.

K. BHASKARA, I.P.S.

01.06.83

22.07.83

22.

A. RAJMOHAN, I.P.S.

23.07.83

18.10.83

23.

K. BHASKARA, I.P.S.

19.10.83

02.03.84

24.

P. DURAI, I.P.S.

02.03.84

08.04.85

25.

K. SEETHARAMAN, I.P.S.

08.04.85

30.10.85

26.

VACANT POSITION

31.10.85

02.02.86

27.

V.K. RAJAGOPAL, I.P.S.

03.02.86

28.10.86

28.

V. VAIKUNTH, I.P.S.

28.10.86

19.08.87

29.

S.I. JAFFER ALI, I.P.S.

19.08.87

17.11.87

30.

E. HARIHARANE, I.P.S.

18.11.87

21.07.90

31.

G. VEERARAGHAVAN, I.P.S.

22.07.90

10.01.93

32.

G. VEERARAGHAVAN , I.P.S.

(Addl. Charge)

11.01.93

28.03.93

33.

L.N. VENKATESAN, I.P.S.

29.03.93

23.10.94

34.

V. JAYAPERUMAL

B.Sc, B.L., A.Dip (NFSC), GIFE.

24.10.94

12.08.98

35.

P.C. PANT, I.P.S.

20.08.98

18.09.98

36.

S. GANAPATHY, I.P.S.

23.09.98

04.02.99