The Great Fire in Ipoh in 1892, spurred the Chinese community to organise their own fire brigades, under the guidance of William Cowan, the Assistant Protector of Chinese. During the early years, firefighting was a voluntary job with each shop sending one or two workers to help whenever the fire alarm sounded.
In the aftermath of the 1892 fire, Ipoh was the first in Malaya to purchase a horse-drawn steam fire engine from Scotland. It was called the Greenwich and was said to be the fastest thing on wheels when it arrived in 1893.
In 1895, the Kinta Sanitary Board started to charge for fire brigade contributions, an additional two per cent on annual rates.
The Central Fire Station on Brewster Road with quarters for the superintendent and 14 firemen, was completed in 1913. In 1936, the Fire station was enlarged by building a second storey on top of the existing one.
The Ipoh Fire Station remained the headquarters of the Fire and Rescue Department until 1992. Today it houses Kompleks Majuperak, the office of Maju Perak Development, a joint-venture company between the Perak State Development Corporation and the Urban Development Authority.
Published by Perak Academy. Credit to Author: Khoo Salma Nasution & Abdur-Razzaq Lubis