FIRE IN THE NEW YORK SUBWAY.
About two weeks ago, while some telephone repairmen were working upon some of the wires in the rapid transit subway at Fulton street and Broadway, Manhattan, New York, one set fire to the paraffin which he was pouring on them. The dense smoke drove the men out of the subway, while the flames communicated to the burlap which surrounded the cables, whose lead sheathing was at once melted, and the insulation of the wires within it destroyed. Under no other conditions could such an accident have occurred. Just at that point the excavation is covered by heavy wood planking supported on columns. There are iron pipes in which telephone and other wires are carried along the roof of this tunnel, the. wires being in cables and protected by the lead sheathing already mentioned. The brick and concrete manhole at Fulton street had been removed, and the cables, which just there were not covered by the iron pipes, were held up by a wooden platform (seen in the accompanying illustration, which, with another showing the results of the blaze, is reproduced in these columns by courtesy of the Scientific American), which hung from the ceiling. The wires were wrapped in burlap—why, no one outside of the telephone and telegraph companies can understand. As a mere fire, there was nothing worth noticing, and the firemen made short work of it. Its results, however, were disastrous, as it involved the tangling up in hopeless confusion of some 6,400 telephone and telegraph wires, including those of the fire alarm. One large and most important business and shipping district of the city was thus cut off from the protection afforded by the fire alarm telegraph wires, while 5,000 telephone wires were put out pf business, crippling Wall and Broad street men, the long distance services each way to Buffalo and elsewhere and hundreds of telephones in Manhattan. T he wires were broken, twisted and melted into one hopeless snarl. Yet within thirty-six hours communication was restored all round, although the iron tubing had to be cut away at each side of the damaged section, so as to find uninjured portions of the cable on which to operate. Each wire of the cable was sorted out, and its number ascertained from the central office, after which the wires were spliced. Of such splicings 25,000 were made, all of a temporary nature, leaving the temporary wires to be connected with permanent wires run through iron tubes. The exact loss cannot be estimated, but it ran up very high into the thousands of dollars, and that did not include the loss in messages or the losses to those who habitually used these wires for business purposes.
A new comnany has bought the Adrian, Mich., waterworks. The old company was capitalised for $150,000 twenty years ago. Since then $260,000 of bonds have been issued and $41,000 raised by assessment of stockholders. The company now owes $9,000, and has not paid any interest or dividends. The new company will put in more money and rebuild the works.