THE FIRE SERVICE.
To the Editor:—Or numerous occasions lawless mobs took charge of cities, endangering the lives and property of lawabiding citizens; martial law was proclaimed; and the military took the places of the civic authorities. When fire departments are placed in the hands of incompetents, a state of insecurity exists which is likely to cause more destruction than mob rule. The Chicago and Seattle fires cost hundreds of lives and millions of dollars Yearly estimates prove that the fire bill of America is assuming vast proportions. It would be preposterous to argue that a remedy is at hand to prevent entirely this fearful waste, but none will contend that it cannot be reduced. A fancied feeling of security governs our men of business, brought on by the fact that insurance will cover any loss they may sustain. They have little or no time to give to the consideration of matters outside of their particular occupations and private affairs. In their opinion the insurance companies stand between them and ruin. The insurance men ask for reforms in the mode of conducting fire departments, and are told to attend to their own business. They do so by immediately sizing up the situation and increasing rates. In addition to the premium business men pay taxes for the support of civic institutions. All are aware that the premium paid insurance companies in no manner reduces taxation; but,still, no interest is awakened. There is no possible reason for the destruction of such an immense number of buildings by fire. The fault lies with the laws and lawmakers. The management of civic institutions is vested in men unable to understand the magnitude of their responsibilities. Permit me to cite a case bearing on this particular subject. The mayor of Portland. Oregon,was formerly governor of that State. He knows as much about a fire department as a Texas steer knows about a wheelbarrow. Populism is his hobby; in his opinion anyone is capable of running and manning a fire department. He foisted a lot of incompetents on the chief. The latter refused to take them. Dismissal followed. Now, I would ask, which man was the more competent? The one elected by the people, or the one who refused to risk the city? Which man showed good judgment? In the hands of such a mayor can the lives and property of 100,000 persons be considered safe? Still the same story is heard on ever side: “ To the victors belong the spoils. When our citizens realize that a responsibility rests on the firemen, higher and nobler than any in the land; when they consider that more brains are necessary to guard their lives and homes than the average man is endow;d with; when they awaken to the fact that no office, however high, requires good true, honest men at its head more than the fire service of our country, then, and not until then will the fire waste be reduced. • PACIFIC.
At Linden, Wash., J. S. Miller and his wife went to attend a political parade at New Whatcom, leaving their seven children in charge of a hired man. When they returned, they found their home burned, six of their children cremated, and the hired man and the seventh child seriously burned.