AN INSANE ASYLUM FIRE.
A fire in section No. 11 of the State hospital for the insane at Norristown, Pa., where 1,250 male patients are confined, 350 in that particular section, imperiled the lives of all for some time. Section No. 11, which is a large two and a halfstory brick building, was completely destroyed, and it is thought many patients escaped by mingling with the crowd of spectators. The fire started in the basement from some defect in the water-heating apparatus, and soon got beyond what does duty as a fire corps in the hospital. The whole of the first floor was ablaze almost instantly. For the first time in the history of the asylum the Norristown fire companies were summoned; but, owing to the darkness and unfamiliarity with the building and its water system, much time was lost. Much had been already, lost, as the asylum is two miles distant from the town, and the horses were exhausted in their attempt to haul the apparatus over the heavy roads. One fell and was unable to get up again, and there was delay till other horses could be procured, then it was found that the water supply was inadequate and the firemen had much difficulty in confining the fire, as they did, in spite of all their difficulties, to section No. 11. The flames were fanned by a brisk wind, and several explosions of gas took place. The burned building was the last in a row of four on the southern side of the administration building. It and section No. 12 on the female (northern) side were built five years ago at a cost of $55,000. At midnight the fire was got under control without spreading to any other building. The attendants and other employes in the hospital were practically powerless to help the fire department, as their hands were more than full keeping the panicstricken patients in order.