Fire Losses in November
The fire record for November of this year from reports on file in the offices of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING shows a slight reduction from that of October and a substantial one from the losses of September. Of course, against this must be set the gradual lowering in valuation that has been taking place in the past few months, but even taking this into consideration, there is still a lessening of the losses as compared with the previous two months. The figures for November were $23,641,160. for October $25,505,800, and for September $31,176,100. The losses for November, 1920, were $24,169,000 and for the same month of 1919, $23,450.800. The total for the eleven months of 1921 reaches the enormous agregate of $309,141,610, over nineteen million dollars in excess of 1920, and fully sixty-seven million over the losses of 1919.
As regards the number of fires a similar phenomenon is noticeable to that to which we called attention last month, namely, the excess in the number of small value fires. The total number of fires consuming $10,000 and ever for the month was 305. This constitutes a substantial reduction over the past three months, the October fires numbering 376, those of September 370, and August 339. Whether the increase in the number of small value fires is the result of the moral hazard, as claimed in some quarters, it is hard to determine, but this increase, occurring contemporaneously with the business depression of the last months and the shrinkage in value, would seem to logically point to the plausibility of this explanation.
The fires of $10,000 and over may be classified as follows: $200,000 and over, 20; $100,000 to $200,000, 33; $75,000 to $100,000, 12; $50,000 to $75,000, 38; $40,000 to $50,000, 27; $30,000 to $40,000, 19; $20,000 to $30,000, 58; $10,000 to $20,000, 98. The number of fires equalling or exceeding $200,000 are again this month comparatively light both in number and amount of loss. They may be divided as follows: $200,000 and less than’$300″000, 12; $300,000, 1; $400,000, 2; $500,000. 2; $1,000,000. 1; $1,500,000, 1; $2,000,000. 1. The three fires of $1,000,000 and over were those occurring respectively in the business district of Augusta, Ga., $1,000,000; a sugar warehouse at Los Alamitos, Cal., $1,500,000; and the Erie docks at Weehawken, N. J., $2,000,000.
Taken all in all the month’s record and that of the year nearly passed is not one of which the advocates of Fire Prevention can be proud. In fact, quite the reverse is the case, when the energy expended in trying to bring home the lessons of Fire Prevention Day during the week of November 9 is brought to mind. However, there is this to be remembered—the lessons of Fire Prevention teachings are slow to take hold of the public and while the campaigns have not as yet shown very brilliant results, no doubt an undercurrent is at work among the masses which in due time will make itself felt in a substantial lessening of the fire losses through education.