APRIL FIRES.

APRIL FIRES.

LAST year the fire loss in the United States and Canada for the month of April amounted to $10,823,000; in 1896, to $12,-010,600. For the April just passed the loss stands at the comparatively modest figure of $8,211,000. The total fire loss for the first third of 1898 shows an encouraging reduction over that of the two years preceding the present. In 1896 the figures stood $47,620,300; in 1897,they were$42,062,400; in 1898, $37,958,000—a difference in favor of this year of nearly $10,000,000 in the space of two years. These figures tell their own tale of improved fire protective facilities, of more efficient fire departments, of an increase in water works systems, and of greater watchfulness on the part of the community in general. To a certain appreciable extent also credit may be given to the efforts of the various State and other fire marshals, through whose diligence in ferreting out firebugs and bringing them to speedy and unsparing justice—a wholesome dread of the law has been inspired in the minds of those who were plotting the crime of arson,—which though by no means stamped out—is becoming far less profitable than of old to its perpetrators. Of the destructive fires in April few can be directly or even indirectly traced to the act of the incendiary—though far more might have been checked in their incipiency, had some of the factories, lumber yards, mills, hotels, residences, and villages been provided, if only with chemical fire extinguishers and water systems on however small a scale (even cisterns would often serve the purpose.) Of these fires there were 171 in which the amount of loss was from $10,000 upwards, as follows: From $10,000 to $20,000, seventy; $20,000 to $30,000, thirty-four; $30,000 to $50,000, thirty-two; $50,000 to $75,000, twelve; $75,000 to $100,000,nine; $100,000 to $200,000, seven ; $200,000 to $555,000, seven. The fires at which the loss was greatest were)seven in number,as follows: Business block at Lincoln,Neb.,$200,000 jseveral buildings at Rock Hill, S. C.,$2oo,ooo;saw mill and lumber at Union Island, Ga., $200,000; railway, storehouse, etc. at Sacramento, Cal., $250,000; plate glass works at Irwin, Pa.; grain elevator and docks at Charlestown, Mass.; coal washer plant at Belt, Mont.

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