LOSS BY FIRE DURING APRIL.
April was signalized by two large fires, one at Kansas City, Mo., and the other at Burlington, Yt., which aggregated a loss of $3,500,000. Beside this there were an unusually great number of fires with heavy property loss, there being no less than twenty which caused a loss of $200,000 and over. These bring the losses for the month to $20,108,900, compared with $18,597,225 for April, 1917, and $12,681,059 for the corresponding month of 1916. There were 201 fires last month which caused damage to the extent of $10,000 and over. Comparing this with the other months of this year, there were 494 in January, 287 in February, and 266 in March, a total of 1,248 for the four months of 1918. This would seem to bear out the hope expressed in our last review, that the agitation looking toward fire prevention was bearing fruit. And in this connection a circular, excerpts from which appear on the first page of this issue, has been published by the National Fire Prevention Association, advocating the enforcement of personal liability for preventable fires, a plan that would do much toward reducing the country’s fire loss. Reports by members of this association who have conducted an active campaign for this class of legislation indicate that in over one hundred cities all over the country ordinances fixing responsibility for fires upon the careless and negligent owner or tenant have been or are to soon be passed. As a rule the punishment consists in compelling the guilty one to bear the expense of the fire’s extinguishment. Some states have also fallen in line, and propose laws looking to fix the blame for unnecessary fires where it belongs. In some of these states enabling legislation is required before any of the cities can pass laws fixing the blame and setting the punishment for this offense. In Canada the tendency is to allow the provinces to handle the problem as they see fit, although a proposition has been made for the Dominion government to take hold of it. At any rate all this agitation will have a very beneficial effect. The total loss for the corresponding four months of 1917 were $102,139,770, and for 1916, $98,586,135, and this year only $97,555,420. The 201 fires of $10,000 and over, are divided as to losses as follows: $10,000 to $20,000, 58 fires; $20,000 to $30,000, 40; $30,000 to $50,000, 22; $50,000 to $75,000, 26; $75,000 to $100,000, 23; $100,000 to $200,000, 23, and $200,000 and over, 20. Taken as a whole, thq record for April is a rather encouraging one, but only as pointing tho way to greater improvements.