Local Fire Protection.
IN many towns possessing a water supply, and where fire risk is increased by manufacturing and other purposes which occupy buildings and warehouses, it has developed plans of fire pipe systems of variable degrees of efficiency. The advantages of these systems are apparent in that the automatic plan, if thoroughly reliable, will, no doubt, quench fires in the beginning, and long before the fire department are in a position to apply water as quickly and efficiently. In fact, these improved methods of reducing fire risks are invaluable in their resuits, and the ready means thus afforded are highly beneficial in preventing the spread of conflagrations and the saving of life and property. There is no conflicting opinion regarding the advantages of the several plans in general use other than what the manufacturers of them may claim, that their plan is better and more efficient than the others ; or, perhaps, some user of one plan may have been disappointed in the experience derived from the failure of that particular plan. The main question, however, in reference to their respective efficiency and utility is answered only by a practical test. We, however, find that so far as their use and adoption is concerned, quite a controversy is now going on in a Western city as to the value of the privileges extended by private water companies to the people that desire to use the fire pipe in their premises. It is claimed by the water company that they should be paid a fixed sum for allowing a water main four inches in diameter to enter a building. They further claim that in consideration of fire hydrants, ample mains and ample means in the way of a high pressure system, that they have fully complied with all legitimate requirements. It strikes us that the water company is bound to protect itself against all possibility of use of water for other than fire purposes by every means in its power. It is well known that in many instances water has been taken from fire pipes for other uses than extinguishing fires, and for that reason heavy penalties should be exacted. If the town council cannot protect the water company in its rights under this new condition of things, the water company can not be blamed for protecting itself. The water company, at the same time, should be liberal concerning the charge or tax to be paid for the additional privilege.