How and Where Fires Start.
According to Fire Marshal Rodgers, of Ohio, more than half of all fires in dwellinghouses start in the kitchen or from sparks from the kitchen flue. The cooking-stove gets no summer vacation. It is always fed too much, and the wood of the floor and wall near it, in many houses, is not protected from its heat. A kitchen stove standing 3 ft. from a bare wooden wall or partition may set it afire. If the wall is covered with a sheet of tin. zinc or iron, it is safe to place the stove within a foot of it, but not nearer. The sheet of metal is useless, if tacked against the wood. It must be held away half an inch, so that the air behind it can carry away the heat. If it is held by screw-hooks, it can be taken off to be polished. Bright tin throws off heat better than any other metal. If a lath in a wall is bare from the falling out of a piece of plaster, the danger is the same as from a wooden wall. A ceiling of wood should be protected by metal, if the elbow of the stovepipe is within a foot of it. The boards in the floor under the stove must have over them a sheet of metal big enough to come out a foot in front of the ash-pan. If wood is used for fuel, it should come out a foot under the door through which the sticks are put in, because redhot coals, or the burning ends of sticks which are too long, often fall from it. This sheet need not be held away from the floor, as the one on the wall must be. necause all the cold air entering a room moves along the floor to the stove. Many houses are burned by the igniting of clothes and kindling placed near the stove to dry. A stovepipe should have no rust-holes in it nor openings, such as are made by forcing together pieces of pipe which do not fit. It should not pass through a floor or partition or through any space in which it cannot be seen, for in such a place it may part a joint or form holes by rusting. A gasoline stove should be closed on three sides, and its burners should be at least 2 ft. from the floor. If the chimney is built up from the kitchen ceiling, instead of from the ground, it should be looked at often to see if twisting or springing of the joist has not caused it to crack, so that sparks might get out and start a fire in the attic. A danger common in the pantry is that from agas bracket, with a joint which permits it to be swung to one side. The flame from such a backet may light the paper used to cover a shelf or may start a fire in the wood. Rags, smeared with butter, lard or anv oil but kerosene, may take fire, if thrown where there is no movement of air to carry away the heat made by the grease on them drying. Such rags and the wrappings from ham, if thrown into a trash-barrel are likely to set its contents afire. A wooden ash-box is very dangerous, unless placed in the open away from buildings and fences. Hot coals are likely to fire the wood of the box or the trash often found in it. The kerosene can should not be kept within 15 ft. of the stove, and the gasoline can is not safe anywhere in a kitchen. Indeed, there is no safe place for a gasoline can, except underground, and even there it is unsafe, if not tightly corked. The worst fire dangers common in cellars are from the top of the furnace being too near the floor above it and from the pipes being too close to the wood of the buildings. If any portion of the wood has been charred by heat, the danger is great, for the charred wood will soon take fire, if a piece of tin or other metal is not placed between it and the furnace. All wood near the smoke-pipe should be looked at, to see if it is charred, and, if it is, it should be cut away. Warm air-flues should have a collar round them where they pass through a floor, because they may become hot enough to set the wood afire. Trash on the furnace top starts some fires. Gas jets should be as much as 2½ ft. below the ceiling, or have above them a shield of tin which does not rest flat against wood. The double-jointed swinging gas fixture is a common danger in cellars. If there is no gas in the cellar, there should be a coal oil lamp fixed in a bracket. Many buildings are burned by using a match while getting some article from a dark cellar. Cellar windows and other openings should be covered by screens of wire, so that cigar-stubs, firecrackers and glowing match sticks cannot he thrown through them by the careless. Ashes, if moist, are liable to ignite themselves, because of the fine particles of coal they aways contain, or from being mixed with greasy rubbish. In looking for fire dangers in a cellar, the nose should be used to learn if gas is coming in beside the pipe from the street. One-sixth of all the gas put in the big pipes in the streets leaks out under the pavement, and is likely to get into the cellar through the loose earth round the house-pipe. This gas, when it reaches anv blaze, will explode, killing persons and destroying the building.