LARGE AREA BUILDING LOSS.
The recent loss of a supposedly fireproof mill at Manchester, England, is described by an instance expert. He says it was of fireproof construction, and employed 400 persons, of whom only a few had returned to work. The fire swept all before it; floor after floor fell with a crash. It began on the third floor at one end of the building. The spread was so rapid that some few of the employes had difficulty in getting out of the building. Fortunately, iron escapes were fixed outside of the walls, and these were used by the work people in reaching the street. The damage was about $500,000.
“At the time of the outbreak of this fire the fiat roof of this mill was covered with about twelve inches of water, so that this water was delivered into the mill, but caused no apparent check upon the fire. It is not an uncommon fact in English mills to make the roof a sort of reservoir. From several accounts it would appear that the collapse of these buildings, and the nearly complete destruction of the mills may be attributed almost wholly to the breaking of the cast-iron posts, and not to the yielding of the floors or roof, in either instance, until the supports had given way.
“These losses confirm myself and the underwriters in our theory that there are virtually no fireproof structures. That is, large-area buildings always entail great fire hazards, and must never be considered indestructible, so long as they are used as storehouses for inflammable contents.”