FIRE-LOSSES IN 1895.
DURING 1895 the fire-losses in the United States exceeded those of the preceding year by more than $2,000,000, the amount being $142,110,233—the highest total since 1875, with the exception of the years 1891, 1892, and 1893, the loss in the last year being upwards of $167,500,000. On the total loss inflicted upon this country by fire in 1895 there was an insurance of $84,698,030—about 64 per cent. Statistics show that the fire-loss in the United States since 1874 has averaged $100,000,000 yearly, and frompressent appearances experts think there does not seem to be very much hope of “any material reduction, but rather of a gradual increase in the yearly fire-waste. ” A reference to nearly every number of FIRE AND WATER will show that quite many very destructive fires break out in towns and villages—some of no inconsiderable size—in which there is absolutely no fire protection whatever or fire protection of the most meagre description. In some the apparatus has been defective; in others there has been a lack of water or insufficient water pressure. In no few localities the efficiency of the fire department has been marred by the interference of politics; in others the department has been handicapped by the picayune appropriations doled out by the municipal authorities. In many a happy-go-lucky-trust-inProvidence spirit has tempted men to neglect to insure their property fully or at all—the citizens trusting either to the efficiency of the fire protective means afforded them in the locality, or to the fallacious idea that, because a big fire has never happened in that particular place, therefore, such a disaster can never befall them. Hence the sudden wiping out of whole villages and the obliteration of entire business sections of towns, owing to the forgetfulness of the fact that it is always the impossible and the unexpected that does happen. Hence also the avoidable loss of property—in 1895 there were five conflagrations involving more than $1,000,000 each—to say nothing of the much more deplorable loss of life— 1,850 lives were destroyed by fire in the same year—pointing not only to the necessity of erecting buildings that shall be as nearly fireproof as possible, but also to the even greater need of having fire-escapes placed upon all buildings above a certain height, on all factories, halls, theatres, hospitals, convents, asylums, schools, homes, and houses of the fiat, tenement, or boarding class from three stories high and upwards. Till more attention is paid to such details and strict laws enacted, to be as strictly carried out against all offenders—and their name is legion — we cannot look for any lessening in the long annual list of fire-losses.