HOW FIRES MAY BE CAUSED.
Incendiarism, it is claimed, is on the decrease. Possibly, but, if so, it is only because its detection is becoming surer. The intention and the wish to defraud insurance companies and avoid bankruptcy are certainly still in evidence, as is shown in the following instances—only a few out of many: A merchant who was in difficulties and heavily insured, removed the metal ceiling protector from over a lighted gas jet before locking up his warehouse for the night, and would probable have succeeded in destroying all evidences of his act. if he had not been observed from a neighboring window. In another case, the gas was turned full on in a cellar stacked with inflammable goods, and a lighted candle put on the floor, so that as the gas got denser it would sink till it reached the candle. Again detection was accidental, for a heavy wagon came along; the gas main was broken underground: and the snpnlv failed. The first visit to the basement revealed the lighted candle still burning and the open tans. The billiard room at a hotel was set on fire some years ago by the gas jets over the table being left on over night and the supply turned off. Next evening the gas was put on aeain and the burners not lighted for some time after. The explosion and fire did not occur till the lights had been on several minutes, demonstrating that the gas had accumulated near the ceiling and that some draught had been necessary to cause it to sink to the burners, or it may have been that the heat caused expansion. A fire in a church centre, not incendiarv, however, sprung from a singular cause. Birds had built their nests in the belfrv. and the sexton had not oiled the hearings of the hells. Some grit from the brickwork dropped on the metal, and. when the hell was rung, sparks were produced: the nests caught fire, and the tower was saved only by a prompt application of buckets of water.