DANGER FROM NATURAL GAS.
State Fire Marshal Hy. D. Davis, of Ohio says regarding the misinterpretation of some of his warnings:
“It has teen brought to the notice of the fire marshal that detached sentences from the warnings issued against fire dangers are being used to promote selfish ends. The most flagrant instance is one in which a fact about the danger from gas leaking from defective mains is made the basis for a statement that the State fire marshal protests against the use of natural gas. In speaking of the danger from gas, in defective mains under the street, filtering through the earth into cellars, an eminent authority on gas leakage was correctly quoted as saying: The most dangerous characteristic of this filtered gas is that it has little or no odor. None of the gases composing it carries any smell of its own. it is a rattlesnake which has lost its rattle; its power and disposition to strike remain unabated; but it is incapable of giving any warning of its presence or purpose. In buildings fronting on asphalted streets it is rarely looked for in vain. The statement is true; but it does not show that this department is averse to the use of gas. Does the statement that lightning killed nineteen persons and destroyed 231 buildings in Ohio in the last three months prove that the fire marshal protests against the formation of clouds? As stated in the bulletin eighty-six fires occured in 1904 from gas which had escaped from leaking mains, defective pipes, rubber hose and open cocks. This figure covers both kinds of gas. The ‘fire alarms’ issued call the attention of the people to various fire dangers and are intended to frighten them into carefulness in handling inflammable stuff, be it red paint or gasolene, to the end that the State’s enormous fire loss may be reduced. With intelligent carefulness in handling them, the loss of money and lives from coal oil, parlor matches, the gases used forlight and heat and even gasolene would cease. The instruction of the people as to the proper handling of these commodities is to the interest of persons supplying them, for, if the people use one of them carelessly, serious accidents will lead to the falling off in consumption. If the people will follow the instructions for piping and handling artificial and natural gas —they are the same for both—there can be no accidents from either. This office attacks carelessness, not business interests. The introduction of artificial gas into cities lessened the fire loss, because it took the place of hand lamps which were easily broken. The introduction of natural gas as fuel in a community lessens the great fire loss from sparks escaping from chimney mouths and defective flues. In the State last year 1,099 fifes were caused hy the sparks from wood and coal stoves. Gas is safer for heating than wood, just as the kerosene lamp is safer than the tallow dip.”