The Sun as a Firebug
It does not seem possible that the rays of the sun even on the hottest day could set fire to anything. But conditions have been such in Kansas and other middle western States during the last few months that this has been possible. The sun in Nebraska last year caused more fires than carelessness. There have been over 100 fires reported to the fire marshal as caused by the sun’s rays during the present summer. There are only a dozen or so reports of actual property loss by fires caused by the sun. A man of Morton bought two small houses and joined them to make one cottage. In doing this it was found that there was a small open space in the joint in the roof where the two houses were fitted together. In order to prevent this being a place to bring cold into the house the carpenters filled the space with ordinary cotton batting and the joint of the roof was made of tin. The heat of the sun shining on the tin set fire to the cotton batting and nearly burned the house. The heaviest single loss from the sun fires was the cattle barns at the State fair grounds at Hutchinson. The barns cost upward of $20,000. The rays of the sun shining through the skylight set fire to the straw piled in some of the stalls. The barns were destroyed. It is supposed that a part of the glass in the skylight happened to he in such position that it picked up the rays of the sun and concentrated them on a spot in the straw and soon had the straw blazing. A bubble in a window pane in Kansas City, Kan., destroyed a house. The sun shone through this bubble and the rays were concentrated on a pint can of coal oil. The can exploded. On a farm near Westphalia a glass nest egg in the henhouse caused the loss of the house and several hens. One of the eggs was in such position that shortly after noon one day the rays of the sun shining through a crack in the wall struck the egg and soon the straw was burning. On a farm in Clay county a lantern globe bad been broken. One afternoon a small boy picked up a piece of the globe and threw it out into the adjoining wheat field. Early in August the sun, shining on that piece of glass, set fire to the stubble field. A piece of mirror that had been thrown away set fire to some grass in a yard near Kinslev, and the fire crept up and caught the house. The mirror had been broken in moving and the glass was taken out and dumped with a pile of tin cans, old shoes and similar junk about 70 feet from the house. One piece of the mirror was exposed so that it caught the rays of the sun and set fire to the grass. A track worker on the railroad near Council Grove had a can of sardines for his lunch one day. The can, which was thrown away, caught the rays of the sun and the grass was set on fire.
The Holton, Kan., city commissioners has passed an ordinance authorizing the issuance of $70,000 in bonds for the extension and improvement of the waterworks system. The improvements contemplate the construction of a dam on Banner creek, an impounding reservoir, a filtration plant and standpipe.