INVITING DISASTER.

INVITING DISASTER.

It is no wonder that British villages, even when partially provided with fire protection, are swept by fire when a blaze starts. Three fires in such villages, all more or less destructive, are reported as having taken place last month. At one, South Stoke, in Oxfordshire, three cottages were burned, with a loss of $15,000. At Framlingham, Suffolk, three. In each place the cottages invited destruction, at Framlingham a little more so. The cottages, which were in a block, were of ancient structure, built entirely of reeds, laths and plaster, the only brickwork being the oldfashioned chimneys. The roofs were, however, pantiled, the thatch having been removed some seventy-five years ago; hut the reeds had been utilised for imbedding the tiles. Naturally, the cottages formed excellent fuel, and there would have been little chance of saving any of them under the most favorable circumstances. The local hand engine was of the vintage of at least a century ago. Unfortunately, the nearest water supply proved to he too far away for the fire brigade hose, and. to add to the difficulty, the connector which enables the brigade to use the hose from the College could not be found. After some delay, one of the brigade manuals was used to pump water into the drain running down the road, and, by blocking this at the lower end, a supply of water was obtained near the fire. A bucket corps, organised by the villagers, had in the meantime rendered first aid. and kept the fire within bounds until the brigade’s services were available. By this means the fire was practically restricted to the block of cottages first involved.

A broken wire in an automatic fire alarm equipment in a Peabody, Mass., factory gave the local fire department a needless run of half a mile.

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INVITING DISASTER.

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INVITING DISASTER.

IT will be remembered that last month a furniture factory was burned down in Philadelehia; many lives were lost; several persons were grievously injured; much property was destroyed; and for some time it looked as if there would be a general conflagration. An inquest has since been held, the outcome of which has simply been to show that human life is at best only poorly safeguarded by existing legislation, and that many essentials are lacking before the factory laws and building ordinances at present in force in that city can be looked upon as effective from a lifesaving standpoint. The factory law does not order any system of fire alarm In business buildings to call the attentiou of enstomers and employes to the fact of there being a Are on the premises, and, of course, the average proprietor will not go to the expense of Installing such a system. The law in Philadelphia does not require that the one stairway In such a buildtng should be lighted, even though ntghtwork is done on the premises, and, equally, of course, the average proprietor or lessee does not feel that he is able to sbonlder the cost of keeping a light constantly burning there The law calls for Are escapes, but does not specify that they shall be such more than In name, nor that there shall be any signs in the building showing where these Are escapes are located. The law, we believe, does call for the non-obstruction of the approaches to these Are escapes; bnt apparently some of the inspectors are of the go-as-vou-please class, and do not always Inspect as they shonld with regard to such trifles. No notices were posted anywhere in the building as to the use of lights or as to smoking. It would seem as If in the basement, where the Are started, each employe did as seemed best in his own eyes with respect to the careless use of waste for lighting the gas, and apparently none were checked even when they smoked in the Immediate neighborhood of piles of excelsior and other InAammable stuff. From all of which it would seem as if the written law of the city and the unwritten law of commonsense aud prudence were deliberately set at naught. What wonder then that the holocaust took place?