Fire Losses of October

Fire Losses of October

There was a substantial dropping off in the fire losses of October, 1921, over those of September, the figures being for the former $25,505,800 as against in the latter $31,176,100, or a difference in favor of last month of $5,070,300. Whether this improvement is really a permanent one or it only a temporary recession of the wave of enormous losses which has engulfed the country in the past two years remains to be seen. It is to be hoped that it is an indication that the strenuous preaching of Fire Prevention Day and Week may have bad some permanent results. The losses even run a little short of October. 1920, which were $27,135,400 loss, but exceeded that of the same month in 1^19, which was the lowest loss of that year, namely, $13,358,400.

A peculiarity of last month’s fire record is that, while the losses fell below those of the previous month byover five and a half million dollars, the number of fires ran ahead of September by -ix. the figures being October. 376 fires. September, 370, and August, 339. This seems to be due to an increase, as noted in last month’s review, in the excess of the number of small-value fires. The fires of October are to be divided as follows: $200,000 and over. 20: $100,000 to $200,000. 37; $75,000 to $100,000, 18; $50,000 to $75,000. 24; $40,000 to $50.000. 27; $30,000 to $40,000. 20: $20,000 to $30,000, 69. and $10,000 to $20,000, 161.

The number of fires equalling or exceeding $200,000. which itt our last review we noted as being unusually light for September, were even smaller in number in October, the total being 20 fires against 23 in September and 22 in August. Last month’s heavy-valued fires are to be divided as follows: $200,000 and less than $300,000, six: $300,000, three; $400,000. three; $500,000, five; $900,000, one. and two exceeding $1,000,000, one of which was the fire in the Morrillton. Ark., cotton compress plant, with a loss of $1,300,000; and the other, that of the Charleston, S. C.. terminal warehouse, which amounted to $1,500,000.

It is rather premature as yet to bid the advocates of fire prevention to rejoice in the apparent lessening of the fire losses, for as before remarked, it may only be temporary. Certain it is that the November record will be swelled by at least one $2,000,000 fire, that of the Erie Piers, on November 3. However, at least October has done something to lessen the disgraceful record that 1921 will show at its end, and that is a crumb of comfort.

Fire departments have been called upon to perform many unusual duties, but perhaps the most remarkable one is that which a woman in one of the eastern New York cities demanded from them when she turned in an alarm of fire for the purpose of extinguishing the lurid language of her spouse.

In FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING of November 2, an article was published descriptive of the advertising campaign of the East Bay Water Company of California. In this week’s issue a different plan of advertising is shown on page 933, that adopted by the Wyandotte, Mich., water department, of which Donald M. Hatch is superintendent, in cooperation with the board of commerce of that city. The plan in this instance is the novel method of posting advertising signs at the various entrances to the city, which, in each case, besides setting forth the advantageof the city, shows a picture of tire filtration plant, and to emphasize the pure quality of the Wyandotte water supply, a bubbling drinking fountain gushes from the sign tor all those who may wish to convince themselveof the truth of the city s claim ns to the excellency of its water.

Cool-headedness on the part of a superintendent and excellent co-operation between the fire and police departments of an eastern city recently avoided a fire panic in one of the worst places where such a panic can occur—a hospital. The superintendent was notified by a nurse that a fire had broken out in the institution and he ordered three nurses to go into each ward quietly and then telephoned an alarm to the fire and police departments. The apparatus arrived in silence and the police formed a cordon in the street on each side of the hospital and drove the crowd hack so that there would be no cries from spectators in the street. The department then went quietly to work and extinguished the blaze without it having caused very much damage. So silently had all this been done that no knowledge of the fire came to any of the patients in the hospital until the excitement was all over.

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