Losses by Lightning in Ohio.
State Fire Marshal W. S. Rogers, of Ohio, has published the following details as to the effects of lightning in that State and others:
Of the 229 buildings fired by lightning in Ohio last summer, 175 were barns. Of the $297,225 loss from lightning, $223,921—a little more than three-fourths—was on barns. The loss on thirty-five dwellings fired was $8,456; but in dwellings the loss of life was greater. When a barn is struck, the probability is two to one that it will be entirely destroyed, contents and all. If a dwelling, the chance is but one to seven that it will be fired at all. The fire marshal gets no report of the large number of houses struck by lightning, in which chimneys arc demolished, siding torn off, foundations damaged or occupants killed. All lightning rods now in use have proved effective. The persons giving most attention to the prevention of loss from lightning are the officers of the farm mutual insurance companies. In several States these companies carry more than $300,000,000 insurance, and in a large number half as much. Their experience shows that the loss by lightning each summer, in States in the Mississippi valley, is front two-thirds to three fourths as great as that from all other causes added together. In Iowa in 1902 the fire loss on farm property from lightning was three times as great as from all other causes combined. In the meeting of the American Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, at Denver, the matter of reducing the assessment where the building was rodded was discussed favorably. This has been done by many companies. Other companies penalise the absence of a lightning rod by paying but 80 per cent, of the loss, if it is by lightning. Others put rodded and unrodded buildings in separate classes. Aside from this, companies have been formed to insure rodded buildings only. During a discussion at the annual convention of the mutual insurance association of Iowa, it developed that aboyt half of all farm buildings in that State are rodded. One delegate said, “In our company where more than half the buildings are rodded, it is a fact that in 15 years there isn’t a case on record of a single building with rods on it that has been struck by lightning, and a great many of them that were not rodded have been.” To quote from the report of an annual meeting of the Illinois Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, “Mr. Haitian asked, if any one could tell of an instance where a barn burned by being struck by lighting, when it was protected by lightning rods in perfect order. No one could.” “Old line” companies have been discussing the necessity of making a charge for the lightning clause in the policy, if the building is not rodded and may charge a higher rate of insurance for such structures, the fact being that, owing to the large number of lightning fires, farm barns have been a losing proposition to insurance companies for several years. The State Fire Marshal of Wisconsin says in his annual report: “From personal investigation as to the methods used by almost all the concerns in the lightning rod business today, 1 am convinced that the business is carried on in a legitimate way and lightning rods can be purchased for reasonable-prices.” The State Fire Marshal of Minnesota has said in a bulletin: “F’rom special reports received in this office of 387 lightning fires in this State during the last five years, not one of these structures reported as having been provided with a lightning rod.” In Ohio the last 883 fires from lightning have been investigated. But four of these buildings had modern rods on them. In one the stroke came from below. A number of houses having rods were struck; but investigation showed, in each, that the rod was more than twenty-five years old and was broken or rusted off.