FIVE FIRES THAT CAUSED A MILLION DOLLARS LOSS
If the town of Swainsboro, Ga., had an ordinance that prohibited the carrying of concealed weapons, many of its citizens might have been rendered homeless by a recent fire. As it was, however, the most imposing business block was reduced to ashes, involving a property loss of $100,000. The village has a population of less than two thousand, and so free from the ravages of fire had it been for many years that little or no attention had been given to fire extinguishing facilities. In fact, there was absolutely no fire apparatus— nor even a length of hose that the town could call its own, and so when the Coleman Opera House block caught fire on January 22, the commercial backbone of the place was completely annihilated, while citizens were forced to look on helplessly. The structure, which facing the Court House, and was occupied by including hardware, dry goods, grocery and general merchandise stores, undertaking rooms, law libraries and private offices. The story, as it conies to this journal from L. S. Proctor, City Clerk of Swainsboro, is not without pathos, for to see one of the beauty spots of a village devoured by flames without the slightest show of resistance on the part of citizens, is a sad spectacle. Charles Stevens, of Summertown. a sister community of Swainsboro, alighted from a train at the latter place about one a. m. on January 22, and while passing the Opera House heard the sound of breaking glass. Upon investigation he saw flames licking up the woodwork within the building. His first impulse, of course, was to alarm the villagers, and in the absence of a more effective way he pulled his revolver from was of brick, two stories in height and less than six years old, practically covered a block his pocket and began discharging it. It had the desired effect, as in a few moments the townspeople were on the street. The flames had then gained too much progress to permit the saving of any of the contends of the various stores. “The loss could have been kept down to $20,000 if we had had a few sections of two-inch hose and a water pressure,” writes our correspondent. “As it was. nothing could be done but watch the flames eat up everything until they reached open space. The cause has not been ascertained.” A conservative estimate places the loss at the abovenamed figure, with about twenty-five per cent, covered by insurance.