4th Blue Plaque (Central Fire Station)

The fourth commemorative Blue Plaque of Yangon was installed at the Central Fire Station in Kyauktada township near the famous Sule Pagoda at the center of the city on October 16, 2014. The Central Fire Station (Sule) is included in the heritage building list compiled by Yangon City Development Committee and is one of the oldest buildings remaining in Yangon that retains its original use. The Central Fire Station, positioned at the center of the city, is a key Yangon building as it has been executing vital work for the city on a daily basis for more than a century.

Irrawaddy_Photo Exhibit

Yangon first established a fire brigade in 1883, which was supplemented by volunteers from school boys of St Paul and St John schools. The same year, the method of traction by manual labour was eliminated and replaced by horses capable of pulling the new steam-engines. Yangon was largely constructed of timber until the 1890s, and faced constant threat of wide-scale damage from fire. The most disastrous occurrences were in outlying quarters where the buildings were constructed of highly flammable materials and where the water supply was least available. In the 1890s, a more consistent supply of water and the construction of masonry buildings contributed to the reduction of serious fire outbreaks.
Rangoon's central fire station, abandoned, May 1945In 1896, the volunteer brigade was replaced with a fulltime salaried brigade composed of professional firefighters. In 1911, the municipality acquired a land in Sule Pagoda Road at a price of RS: 40.000 (US$16,280 in 2014 prices, adjusted for inflation) to erect a modern Central Fire Brigade. The building, a fine example of Edwardian architecture, is endowed with a 100 feet watch tower and was completed in 1912. It was the first fire station in Myanmar to introduce petrol or steam driven machines that replaced the horse-driven engines.
In 1917, the need for additional accommodation at the Central Fire Station compelled the Committee to purchase the adjoining property known as the Hanthawaddy Press at a cost of 2 Lakhs (US$4,800 in 2014 prices, adjusted for inflation). Today, the building is one of the oldest left in Yangon that retains its original use.


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