CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE.

CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE.

CRIMINAL negligence, at least from a moral standpoint, has shown itself in some of the recent disastrous fires in convents, refuges, hotels, steamships and hospitals These have been accompanied in at least three instances with perfectly avoidable loss of life, and have been due to the forgetfulness of the fact that not only it is the unexpected and impossible which happens, but that there is need to take fire protective measures against that impossible and unlooked for something. In some of the fires referred to there was good nnd efficient fire protection at hand. The fault 1 y with the institutions themselves, in which was no auxiliary fire equipment, nor nay drilled corps to use any such equipment and hold a fire in check till the arrival of the regular fire department nor any system of auxiliary fire alarm installed,by which to call the fire department on the instant nnd thus save valuable time. In the ease of the other institutions there was no pretence at fire protection, nor was there any fire depart ment within easy distance to come to their help. At best a bucket brigade nnd a meagre and distant water supply were provided. In the ease of the Loomis sanitarium, absolute carelessness on the part of the management was In evidence. That institution shelters about one hundred consumptive patients, to any one of whom the danger excitement, nnd exposure incidental to a fire might prove instantly fatal. Yet no fire apparatus was provided either in the sanitarium itself or on the grounds, nor any water supply, save such as was to le procured from a small tank, located a quarter of a mile from the main building, while the nearest tire department was at Liberty, with which there was only telephonic communication. After the fire was discovered the firemen of that village had to drag their apparatus—some pieces by bandup nlougand stiff hill to the tire, which all the time was rapidly gaining headway; ami when the firemen didrench the scene, their efforts were paralysed by the lack of water. Fortunately it was in the daytime. If the fire had been at midnight or in the early morning hours, it would haveepread,uninterruptedly for some time, from the main building to tlie adjoining cottages in which were the patients, of whom certainly some would have lost their lives. It is now to be luqied that the costly experience thus gained by the managers of the sanitarium will be of such a nature as to open their eyes to their reeponsi bill ties in the way of providing adequate fire protection for the benefit of those invalids, many of whom pay a very high price for their accommodation and treatment — all of whom have the right to expect that they shall be protected against fire so long ns they are housed under its roof As regards tlit burning of the steamer the Nutmeg State in the Sound : A strict investigation ns to the causes of the tire, the means of tire protection i rovided on board, and whether or not tlie crew were made up of men whoknew the ship’s topography and were also drilled in, and accustomed to the use of such apparatus as was at hand, will, we suppose, follow the disaster. If suchequipment were no better and the crew not traiued to act any more expertly and intelligently in such an emergency than is usual on board the ships of the less important Sound lines, then it is not to be wondered at that the flumes had it all their own way. If, also, it is true that, in consequence of rush in taking it aboard and of there not being very much of it, the freight was stowed away loosely on deck and not in the hold, thereby allowing the fire to spread rapidly and creep noiselessly in, and round it, and if (as is admtted) among that freight were severul cases of cartridges, whose transportation,commonsense would dictate, should have been in separate fireproof compartments in a part of the vessel far removed from any risk of being ignited by sparks from the boilers or the pipe or cigar enjoyed unrestrained by the watchman, as is sometimes the case on board such steamers,in a section of the ship where notices strictly strictly forbid any smoking at all, then moral, if not legnl nnd criminal carelessness on the part of the captain nnd crew—the servants of the company—can be laid to the charge of the steamship’s owners, who, in con«equence, should be held to the strictest account not only for the loss of the ship and cargo,but for the loss of so many vuluable lives.

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