Foreign and American Fire Losses Compared.
A recent consular report presents the fire statistics of Paris. Berlin and Canada for the few years past. In comparison with fire losses in the United States it confirms reports of authorities in this country that fire losses here exceed by far those of Europe. The fire loss in this country is said to average nearly $250,000,000 a year, a per capita loss of nearly $3. When the cost of the maintenance of fire service is added, the whole loss and outlay amount to considerably over $5 per capita. “There were 2.049 fires in Paris in 1908; 2,167 in 1909. and 2,030 in 1910,” says the united consular report. “The returns for 1908 have been analyzed in official reports and show that there were 1.634 fires where the loss was less than 1,000 francs ($193) in each case, the total losses for such fires aggregating $46,494. Fires in which theloss was more than 1,000 francs, numbered 415, with an aggregate loss of $1,343,919. The total loss for all fires in 1908 was $1,390,413. The Paris fire department at present includes 1,803 officers and men, or one to 1,579 inhabitants, the population being 2,846,937. The cost of maintenance of the department in 1909 was as follows: Salaries, officers, $01,209; men. $405,300; material and apparatus. $158,080; telegraph and telephone. $12,005; all other expenses, $50,491 ; total, $696,151. The average cost per inhabitant was about 24 cents. The department is well organized and managed, and although its apparatus and methods are relatively primitive and inexpensive as compared with those of fire departments in the larger American cities, it does with reasonable promptness and efficiency the work that it has to do.” The per capita loss is less than 50 cents. The economy of life and property in Paris is due to the careful regulation of the methods of building and materials used. In Berlin, Germany, the fire losses paid by the Municipal Fire Insurance Association was $301,403 for the year 1908-1909 on real property. The cost of the fire department for 1909-1910 was $009,814, which includes ordinary and extraordinary expenses, an average cost per capita of 30 cents. The population of Berlin in 1910 was 2,064,153. Canada has suffered disastrously by fire during the past two years, to the amount of $42,498,834. Already in this year for the first four months the total loss is $5,301,875, an average of $1,340,408 a month, or a daily loss of $44,082. Beside this property loss 77 lives were sacrificed the first four months this year. Since January 1, 1909, 552 persons have lost their lives in fires, or a monthly average of about 20. With a population in 1909 of 7,000,000, the loss per capita was $2 70. but in 1910, with an estimated population of 7.500,000. the per capita loss had risen to $3.14, even larger than in the United States The annual average per capita losses of six nations of Europe are compiled from statistics of several years and presented by the United States consular report as follows: Austria, 29 cents; Denmark. 26 cents; France. 30 cents; Germany. 49 cents; Italy. 12 cents: Switzerland, 30 cents
The ordinance providing that inspection of water meters shall be made at any time, at the request of Houston Heights, Tex. residents, has been passed by the city council. The ordinance provides for the appointment of a regular meter inspector to have charge of the work. By tinterms of the new law, any user of water who believes that his bills are too high may deposit a fee of $1 and have the meter tested. A variance of 5 per cent, is allowed the public service corporation. If the meter registers more than 5 per cent “off” then the $1 inspection fee must be paid by the public service company and the bill readjusted. If the meter is found to be correct, or within 5 per cent, of correct, the deposit fee of $1 goes to pay the inspector.
An almost general increase in water rates by the Waterworks Company, of Shreveport, La, has been put into force. In some instances tinrate has been doubled. When asked about tinmatter, Mr. Goss, manager, explained that tincompany has heretofore undercharged what it should have charged. “In many cases people will add a bath room or a hydrant or something and say nothing about it. We have a general supervisor who comes occasionally and goes over the entire city, and he rates the houses and business places. Following his visit we rate accord ing to his figures, and so charge. I can explain ‘o every consumer who presents his bill why he has been charged more this quarter than hereto fore. There has been no increase in rates. The consumer is paying what he should have paid. I f there have been any over-charges, we will gladly rectify them, and, as I say, no general explanation can be made, but an individual ex planation can be made to every consumer charged more than this quarter than the last.” Mayor Eastham said that the Waterworks Company was within its rights to charge up to the schedule as shown in the city ordinance relative to water rates. In many instances, said the mayor, the company has not charged fully what it had the right to. The ordinance can be examined by any consumer and he can see readily if he is being overcharged or he can complain to Commissioner McCullough, of the public utilities.