THREE HOLOCAUSTS.

THREE HOLOCAUSTS.

Monday’s holocausts at Chicago and Saratoga, as well as one of a like sort in London, point to something radically wrong, not in the firemen themselves, but in the buildings—in the London case in the equipment of the brigade, also, where so many lives were sacrificed to municipal neglect. Most especially does this seem to have been the case in St. Luke’s sanitarium at Chicago, where, considering the nature of the disease treated—alcoholism in its various forms the protection against death by fire afforded to the inmates should have been of the most perfect sort. Instead of that, the building was simply a firetrap. with every facility offered for the escape—not of the patients from the hospital—but of the flames from tne basement to the topmost floors of the house by means of the elevator shaft. In addition, some of the patients were kept strapped down in the beds and locked up in rooms with windows barred and rendered still more secure by wire netting nailed over the bars on the outside. The physicians ami attendants, from the highest to the lowest, were either not on hand in the building, or were totally incompetent to deal with the emergency, against which no preparations had been made, the result being death to at least thirteen persons, and serious, probably fatal injuries to others. At Saratoga, also, the same faults ruled, and while due allowance must be made for the panic which seized some of the inmates, there can he no excuse for the absence cf those facilities for escape which should be of obligation in every budding more than two stories high, even if their presence is an offence to aesthetic eyes. In this case, their non-presence proved fatal to five persons and not improbably robbed the fire department of Saratoga of a brave chief, who, if he dies, will truly have given his life for another. In the London catastrophe, likewise, the same structural faults were noticeable—no means of escape from within, and none outside, except by jumping from windows too high for the ladders of the fire brigade to reach up to. The loss of so many lives is surely a heavy price to pay for such neglect on the part of the authorities, and each fire, with its sacrifice of life, should form the subject of an exhaustive and searching inquiry, from the consequences of which no guilty man should escape.

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