Anything like a destructive fire is such a rarity at Burlington, Vt., that for one to visit that interesting New England city is more than an ordinary event. Much more does such an episode cause excitement when Christmas Day is ushered in, not by joy bells and the gladsome carols succeeding the jingle-bells of Santa Clans and his deer-sleigh, but by the sound of the fire bell summoning Chief Murray and his men to save both life and property.

Shortly after 11 o’clock in the morning smoke was seen issuing from a window on the third floor of the business block on the corner of Church and College streets. A still alarm was brought to fire station No. 1, where the firemen turned out at once with the chemical engine. The blaze, however, was too fierce, and an alarm was turned in from the nearest fire box, which brought the remainder of the department to the scene. Meanwhile Mrs. Barkey, the wife of a photographer in the building, being driven out by the dense smoke and finding all means of escape by the stairway cut off, had betaken herself to the top of a third-story bow window, from which perilous position she was rescued by Chief Murray, who carried her down the fire ladders. The good work of the department soon had the flames under control, and within three-quarters of an hour all danger was past. The fire had evidently started in a paper closet under the stairs leading from the second to the third floor, and must have liven smouldering for some time, and before it was discovered it had worked its way up through partitions, creating a dense smoke all through the rooms on these two floors. It was confined to these, and whatever damage resulted to the clothing store on the ground floor was due chiefly to water—as, indeed, was nearly all the damage on the second floor, where Dr. Soule’s dental purlors suffered most. The contents of the building were valuable, and the loss was pretty heavy. Everything, however, was well insured. The appetites of Chief Murray and his men for their Christmas dinner were whetted rather than impaired by their hard work.

In 1900 there were in Wisconsin ninety-nine forest fires. The total property loss was $23,906 and 165 persons were affected. The cost of extinguishing these fires was $1,426.03. In 1899 there were only forty fires, involving a property loss of $1,705, and affecting fourteen persons, while the cost of extinguishing them was $502.97.

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