FIRES IN MARYLAND.
In the second annual report to Governor Lowndes, Mr. E. J. Lawyer, Maryland State fire marshal, shows that during the past seventeen months the total number of fires throughout the State was 2,404. The loss was $1,192,514.50. The whole insurable risk upon the property damaged, including buildings and contents, was $5,099,809.56. The amount of insurance paid was $967,851.05. The uninsured loss was $224,663.45.In the counties there were 782 fires, causing a total loss of $647,717.99, while the uninsured loss was $180,650.50. The number of incendiary fires was eighty-nine. Mr. Lawyer belives that, if the power of the fire marshal were increased, and if he were permitted to have a sufficient force at his command to investigate thoroughly and promptly every fire that occurs within the State, the number might still further be reduced and the crime of incendiarism might become a rarity. Mr. Lawyer says that Maryland is peculiarly situated as to fire protection. Outside of Baltimore city the fire service is exclusively volunteer. This service has been strengthened through the organization known as the Maryland State Firemen’s association. The amount of damage done by lightning in Maryland during the period closing September 30, 1897, was extremely large—fires reported as due to lightning numbered seventy-six. The loss by them was$i76,875.43. Three were in Baltimore city, in June and August, 1896, and in August, 1897. The loss by them was $120,218.93. Thirtysix persons died by fire during the seventeen months. The great majority of these fatalities have been due to explosions of gasolene stoves. There are at the present time numerous dead wires in the city of Baltimore that Mr Lawyer says should be removed, as they are a menace to both life and property, and an ordinance should be made and passed to compel the removal of all such wires. I would recommend (concluded Mr.Lawyer) that the legislature incorporate within the fire marshal law a section giving authority to the marshal, his deputy or aides, fire chiefs, mayors, burgesses, and constables, in their respective jurisdictions in the State, to take steps for the prevention of dangerous inflammable conditions on any ptemises.