The Fire Toll of Lightning
Standing high among the causes of fire loss is that of lightning. Many years ago when the lightning rod was first introduced, unscrupulous dealers went throughout the country selling these devices which they warranted to protect exposed buildings from the lightning bolt. A great majority of these individuals knew little about the principles of electricity and cared less and the consequence was that this important means of protection soon fell into disrepute, as through the methods adopted by these dealers the lightning rod in most cases courted disaster for those who were victimized into the purchase of the device. The reason for this of course arose from the fact that the rods were improperly set and insufficiently insulated.
In consequence of this prejudice the average householder whose dwelling was in an exposed position. as the farmhouse or those in sparsely settled neighborhoods, preferred to take the risk of the building being struck rather than install a device which apparently afford little protection.
Within one week, that between August 21 and 28, twenty-five fires are recorded caused directly by lightning. This is by no means an unusual record but is one which can be duplicated in almost any period during the summer season. Many of these fires were in barns and buildings in exposed positions and in practically every case were in structures which had no protection against lightning.
The age of the lightning rod has given way to that of the modern lightning conductor, which if properly installed, is practically a safeguard against the building on which it is erected being struck by lightning. Naturally, these devices must be constructed on scientific principles and by experts who thoroughly understand the work. Otherwise they will prove as did the old lightning rods—a menace rather than a protection.
As a recent edict by State Fire Warden A. F. Hawes of Connecticut strikes at the root of a recent evil that contains many elements of danger in the matter of fire risks. He has declared that hereafter anyone burning fiery crosses without a written permit from a fire warden will be arrested and if found guilty fined heavily or sentenced to jail. Entirely aside from the significance of the burning of the fiery cross the danger of such an act by a careless person is too great for this practice to be indiscriminately allowed. The setting fire to a large mass of inflammable material which may throw off sparks or fall and ignite neighboring woodland or grass and result in the destruction of valuable property should not be allowed except under careful supervision.
Augusta Firemen Get $10 Salary Increase—The members of the Augusta, Ga., fire department have been granted a salary increase of $10 a month. The measure was brought up several months ago but no further action was taken until recently when it was reconsidered by the city council.
Los Angeles May Eventually Tap Colorado River—Chief Engineer Mulholland, of the bureau of water works at Los Angeles, Cal., in his report on the present and future water supply of that city says that the Colorado River will eventually have to be tapped to meet the growth of the city.
Jerseyville, Ill., Orders Fifty Meters—The city council at Jerseyville, Ill., has ordered 50 Pittsburgh water meters for immediate delivery and will, according to present plans increase the order to 500 if a proposed bond issue of $35,000 is carried. The fifty meters will he installed on connections of the larger consumers.