We have heretofore copied occasionally from month to month the list of important fires occurring as compiled for the Commercial Bulletin of this city. The republication of these lists in THE JOURNAL have attracted the attention of Chief Engineers, several of whom have written us to correct the figures as given. As these figures are compiled for the information of underwriters especially, and enter largely into their calculations in making rates and transacting their business in the different cities, it is important that they should be as nearly correct as possible. As to the effect of fires upon communities we may cite the experience of Minneapolis. Recently several severe fires occurred, and forthwith the manager of the insurance interests there issued a pronunciamento denouncing the water supply as insufficient, criticising the Fire Department, and arbitrarily advancing the rates of insurance about five per cent. This has aroused the ire of the business men, and a wordy war is in progress between them and the representatives of the insurance companies. As a concession to the underwriters, however, and hoping to get insurance rates reduced to the old standard, the City Council has just ordered two new steamers, and is taking other means to secure better fire protection ; nevertheless the insurance men remain firm, and the citizens are forced to pay an extra five per cent tax because they have suffered such severe losses by fire. We shall be glad to have Chiefs, and our readers generally, point out any errors tiny may discover in the lists of fires we may print from time to lime, in the interest of their felow citizens who have to help pay the loss. Regarding the November losses by fire the Commercial Bulletin says :
“ The fire record of November, in the United States and Canada, as compiled from our own files, makes mention of 143 fires where the loss was reported as $10,000 or more—the aggregate loss by the 143 fires being $5,000,000 and their average $35,000 each. Hundreds, we might almost say thousands, of other fires occurred, of course, entailing losses of less amount than $10,000, many of them escaping notice or mention in the columns of exchanges from which we make up our record. The estimated aggregate of these smaller and unrecorded fires will not be less than $1,250,000, thus making the total waste of the month $6,250,000. This is less by $800,000 than November, 1881, but $1,100,000 more than November, 1880. The November record since 1S78 has been as follows : 1882, $6,250,000; 1881, $7,061,600 ; 1880, $5,171,200; 1879, $6,819,200 ; 1878, $6,315,100. Up to the end of October, our estimates of the fire waste for the ten momhs of 1882 footed up to $73,500,000. Adding the $6,250,000 ash heap of November, we have $79,750,000 as the destruction caused by fire during the eleven months, with December yet to hear from before making up the lurid record of the year. In round numbers then we have, up to the end of November, burned to worthless ashes $80,000,000 worth of property. The record shows that with the single exception of 1881 this has been the worst year for waste of this sort during the past five years. And here is the eleven months’ record of each year since 1878: 1882, $79,750,009; 1881, S81.58r.800; 1880, $72,754,300; 1879, $78,729,900, 1878, $63,913,000.
Analyzing the November fires, we find that, of the 143 fires where $10,000 or more was lost, there were 68 ranging between $10,000 and $20,000; 28 between $20,000 and $30,000 ; 11 between $30,000 and $50,000; 19 between $50,000 and $75,000; 6 between $75,000 and $100,000; 10 between $100,000 and $200,000, and 1 of $250,000. Below is given a table showing in detail the locality, description and loss by each fire, with the insurance, as far as known. The figures are, of course, approximate estimates, made by reporters and telegraph operators ; but they are the best data obtainable:
As will be seen, the Urge fires of the month, those of $100,000 and over, are the following : Shieveport, La., $125,000; Hull, Ont., $too,000, Red Bank, N. J., $250,000; Pittsburg, Pa., $100,000; Irvington N. Y., $150,000; Minneapolis, Minn., $127,000; Brinkley’s Bridge Pa., $120,000; Quincy, Ill., $135,000; Buffalo, N. Y., $150,000 ; Quebec! $100,000 and $150,000. Thus the waste goes on, and, although there is roam to hope that the aggregate fire loss of 1882 may be $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 less than that of 1881, the matter is already settled that, excepting 1881, this has been the heaviest year for fire losses since 1878. Would that the fact were something to boast of instead of being a national scandal and disgrace.