FIRE AND WATER
A GREAT mistake is often made in England in using fire apparatus for purposes for which it was never intended. Not long ago, on the occasion of a royal visit, the utilization of fire escapes to form a triumphal arch caused a fatal accident, and the other day, the similar misuse of a fire escape, which was being employed as a scaffold, whence the firemen might work at fixing jubilee decorations at New Castleunder-Lyme, caused the collapse of the machine and the death of a veteran and experienced fireman. English fire escapes are risky things enough to handle at the best of times; wherefore, it seems a tempting of Providence to employ them in any other service than that for which they are designed.
ONCE again those wheelmen and wheelwomen who persist in making the lives of firemen and drivers miserable by crowding the apparatus and getting in its way while on the way to fires, have received a set-back from Chief Barrett, of Indianapolis. After having put up with the nuisance for a considerable time, and finding that the evil, far from growing less, waxed greater, the chief complained to the board and pointed out that the presence of so many devotees of the wheel in the streets during runs to fires added to the nervous strain of the drivers and also hindered the firemen in their work—to say nothing of the danger to the cyclists themselves, many of whom were mere children and young women. The fire bells of the city will, therefore, no longer ring out alarms, and thus the inconveniences and dangers complained of will be at least minimized. The same course should be adopted wherever possible elsewhere.
TUNE’S fire lossin the United States and Canada was conspicuously light—the total amount having been $5,684,450. This was less by $36,800 than the loss in the corresponding month last year, which was looked upon as very low. The total fire loss for the half year just expired was $57,940.45, as compared with $63,959,550 in
1896 and $66,497,600 in 1895. So far, therefore, the fire insurance men have had but little to grumble about. By months the figures of loss stand as follows for the first halves of the past three years.
The fires in June whose destructiveness was from $10,000 upwards were 139 in number,classified as follows:
The heaviest losses were incurred as under: