Playing with Fire.

Playing with Fire.

The Common Council of Chicago has under consideration a project to “amend” (as it is mistakenly called) the fire-limit law of that city. The very idea of such a thing excites grave apprehensions, and the Chicago Tribune is outspoken in denouncing the scheme. From one of its ringing editorials we quote the following:

The moral effect of announcing to the world that Chicago has again resolved to tolerate the I erection of fire-traps without number, will, of itself, cost this city millions of dollars a year in increased insurance rates, withdrawal of the best companies, and loss of general ; business. The district which it is proposed to except from the operations of the fire ordinance is large enough to create alarm of itself; but the license will not stop here. Other districts will claim the same exemption, and get it, too. It will not be fair to permit the erection of wooden buildings in the southwestern portion of the city, and refuse the same privilege to the southern, the western, the northwestern, and the northern districts. The result will be that it will be impossible to enforce the fire ordinance in any portion of the city, except)

perhaps, the business district which constituted the old fire limit before the disastrous conflagration of 1871. The step once taken in this direction, the safe insurance companies, and especially the English companies, will probably withdraw altogether from Chicago busi! ness, and those that remain will increase their rates enormously. It is not improbable that | the adoption of the ordinance proposed would take $1,000,000 out of the pockets of Chicago business men and householders for increased insurance rates, and it might lead to a concerted movement among the substantial companies to abolish their Chicago agencies. This was threatened, it will be remembered, after the July fire of 1874, and it was only the passage ol the law making the fire limits co-extensive with the city limits that prevented it. The withdrawal of insurance would be a death blow to the business of the city; commercial houses would simply close their doors, and seek location elsewhere. Even a material increase of rates would be a frightful burden on business and impede its growth.

THE POMPIER Ladders.—The so-called pompier ladders are the newest thing in Fire . Department supplies. They consist of a pole, from fifteen to twenty feet long, with the rounds projecting far enough on each side to allow foot room on them, while one end of the pole terminates in a large hook of steel. Each ladder is light enough for one man to handle easily. These ladders are being introduced in several Western cities, and at St. Louis the j other day were used for the first time at an actual fire. In the operation of ascending to the fifth floor of the burning building, the fireman caught the hook end of the ladder over a window sill in the second story, climbed up, stood on the sill, pulled the ladder up and caught it on a window sill of the third story, climbed up to that story, and so repeated the movement to the fourth and fifth stories, doing the work in less time then it usually takes to get a long ladder in position. There were probably two thousand persons in the crowd of spectators, and considerable excitement was manifested at the display of agility and coolness of the firemen using the ladders.

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