FIRE LOSS IN 1897.

FIRE LOSS IN 1897.

The fires tables for 1898 give information in regard to the fire losses and insurance losses for the year 1897 The aggregate fire loss was $2,454,592,481, which is $2,382,845 less than in 1896. The insurance loss for the year was $1,438. 902,448, or $7,181,655 lower than the loss for the previous year. This showing is smaller than for any year since 1890. A noticeable feature is that for the first time the yearly los of New Yord was exceeded by that of another State, Pennsylvania leading with a fire loss of $13,706,315, and an insurance loss of $8,674,980. The number of fires reported during the year was 55,779, of which but twocaused a loss of over $t,000,000. One was at Knoxville, Tenn., in April, where the figures footed up to$i,oi9.725, and the othe’was at Pittsburgh, Pa., in May, when the loss was $1,905,515. The loss to the State of Pennsylvania on the buildings at Harrisburg aggregated $700,000. The greatest monthly loss occurred in January, when the property loss was $ 11.594, 495, and the insurance loss $7,187,515. There were burned in 1897 33.033 dwellings and tenements, 11,811 barns, stables, and granaries; 1,753 general merchandise stores, 913 retail liquor stores and saloons, and 735 churches.

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FIRE LOSS IN 1897.

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FIRE LOSS IN 1897.

DECEMBER, 1896, was only a few thousand dollars behind the December of 1895 in its fire loss, and, as will be seen from the table below, ranked second for the year in the amount of that loss. During the month there were 192 fire’s, whose cost was from $10,000 upwards, as follows:

Of these fires the most destructive were the following: Philadelphia, Pa., carpet store and other, $800,000; Grand Forks. N. Dak.,various,$750,000; St. I.ouis, Mo., jewelry store and other, $334,000; Kansas City, Mo., Auditorium,hotel, etc., $225,000; Cleveland, Ohio, several business blocks, $675,000; Chicago, Ill., Coliseum building, $772,000. ‘The fires and losses for the year, as compared with those of 1895 and 1896 were as under:

It will thus be seen that there were six monthsin the past year in which the loss from fire exceeded $10,000,000, while there were eight such fires in 1895, and only five in 1896. On the whole, however, the insurance companies have no cause to complain of the year just gone by, as its fire loss was $5,335.85 less than in 1896, and $19,520,050 less than that of 1895. The difference is suggestive and points to four causes: (1) Improvements in,and increase of fire service and protection; (2) greater energy in searching out suspected cases of arson; (3) greater vigor in prosecution of firebugs, and (4) an increasing fear of the consequences of incendiarism, owing to the severe punishments meted out of late to such offenders.