A FIERY WEEK.

A FIERY WEEK.

The seven days included between January 18 and January 25 formed in every sense of the word a very fiery week. Fargo, N. Dak., has had a $114,000 plant burned; Avoca, Pa., a $130,000 coal-breaker; Bristol, Tenn., the $100,000 car-barn of the Bristol Car company; Boston, a $98,000 blaze at 136-140 Pearl street, and another of $75,000 at 77-9 Franklin street. At Norfolk, Va., the $60,000 plant of the Atlantic Creosoting company formed a spectacular blaze, as did that at Beaufort, S. C., which caused a loss of between $50,000 and $70,000, and destroyed the stables in which it started, as well as the townhall, the markethouse, a bank, a big general store and many other buildings, the flames stopping only when there was no more for them to feed upon—the water supply failed, and the fire department was thereby totally crippled. Youngstown, Ohio, also, had a fire, at which the loss came very near to, if it did not exceed $500,000 (some put it as high as $700,000). The fire, which was caused by the crossing of electric wires in the basement of the building of the H. L. McElroy company, dealers in furniture, on West Federal street, destroyed that building and the one adjoining, Ewers’ Sons’ drygoods store, and a new hotel. The big department store of G. M. McKilvey & Co. was saved by the automatic sprinkler system. At Cincinnati, also, the Hill & Griffith company’s building was destroyed by a fire, which started on its fourth floor and spread to the Resor foundry adjoining, causing a total loss of over $400,000. A falling wall crushed the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railway roundhouse; but all engines had been previously removed. The melting and collapsing of an iron bridge that connected the two concerns blocked the railway tracks on two lines for several hours till nightfall. The backwater from the Ohio river and Mill creek blocked the efforts of the firemen on one side, and a high hill shut them away from another side, so that the buildings were burned almost without a fight from the department. The Union depot at Worcester, Mass., was another destructive fire. The loss was very heavy. Chicago had a $250,000 loss in the burning of the fourstory brick business building 29-41 Franklin street, and Newport, Ky., one with the same amount of loss when the Old ’76 Distilling company’s building went up, with 5,000 barrels of whisky—making a fierce blaze.

A FIERY WEEK.

A FIERY WEEK.

ST. LOUIS, MO., has been particularly unfortunate in the way of fires during the past week. The aggregate loss from five such accidents—one of which destroyed four blocks of buildings at a cost of at least $1,000,000—has amounted to nearly $1,100,000, with an insurance of a little more than $800,000. Next in point of number comes Chicago, with four big fires and a loss of nearly $320,000. Second in point of loss to St. Louis comes Norwich, Conn., with its $500,000 blaze (insured apparently for only $150,000) at the factory of the Hopkins-Alien Arms company, and that of the Wolf warehouse and factory at Dayton, Ohio, where the loss (nearly covered by insurance) was the same. Indianapolis with the destruction of the Stout warehouse and its accompanying insured loss of $350 000; our own borough of Manhattan, with its $200,000 fire at the Hess upholstering warehouse in Fifth avenue; Little Rock, Ark., with its many big buildings gutted at a loss of $570,000; the Keller grocery store’s very poorly insured loss of $125,000; Detroit, Mich., with its Annis furniture store burned and $105,000 lost; and Pasadena, Cal., with its Echo Mountain house ($100,000) blotted out of the landscape—to say nothing of a loss of between $800,000 and $1,000,000 at Tampico, Mexico, where there was no fire protection to save eleven retail houses, one wholesale house, and the city market, and the vast district swept over by fire at Honolulu, in the Hawaii Islands—all these, which took place in the few days intervening between February 1 and February 7, besides many others where the loss was considerably above the average, testify to the stern fact, that, however many and however excellent the improvements in, and the additions to the fire departments of this country, the destruction of property by fire is steadily on the increase. This is a serious matter to contemplate, and when such a condition confronts municipalities, fire departments, and insurance men, it is no time to indulge in theories, but one in which the most vigorous action should be at once taken to avert for the future a destruction of property which surely could be avoided to at least a great extent by greater liberality on the part of those who make the appropriations for fire departments, by taking the departments altogether out of the demoralizing sphere of politics, by more careful inspection of buildings, especially with regard to their means of lighting and heating, by rigid adherence to building ordinances, drawn up not by mere amateurs or half-educated architects so-called and by petty contractors, but by experts and after due consultation with the working heads of the fire departments, by a proper fire alarm system and paid firemen, and, not least, by particular care being taken that the water supply shall be abundant, with pressure constantly maintained to reach the highest buildings, and hydrants in plenty to keep up a powerful stream whenever and wherever required. The money so laid out would soon be repaid by the saving in fire loss. The millions of dollars gone up in smoke during the past week, and those which have shared theirfate since this year began, should serve to accentuate and emphasize our contention.