Mayor Low has appointed a commission to draft an ordinance dealing with the use and care of explosives within the limits of the city of New York. The motive of the commission is the recent disastrous explosion in the rapid transit subway, for which reason both Fire Commissioner Sturgis and William Barclay Parsons, chief engineer of the rapid transit commission, are among its members. Mayor Low admits that ordinances bearing upon the subject are already in force, but points out that they are “very ancient”—even the terminology in use is, in some instances, outgrown—and the ordinances, such as they are, proceed on the theory of limiting the damage to result from an explosion by limiting the quantity of the explosive to be kept in any one place, whereas it is probable that far greater safety can be obtained by proceeding upon the theory that the way to avoid injury is to provide for such scientific care and use as will minimise the danger of accident. Since the present ordinances were drawn up the practice of manufacture and use has, in many cases at least—if not in all—completely changed, and it is highly important that ordinances should now be adopted that conform to the best modern practice. The members of the committee are all men thoroughly competent to deal with the question from every point of view, and the mayor expects, “as a result of their labors, the suggestion of ordinances that, when adopted, will both facilitate the proper conduct of all work in which explosives have to be used and at the same time add importantly to the safety of the citizens.” But will Mayor Low see to it that whatever ordinance may he passed shall not be supposed to become a dead letter, as has been the case in the past?

Chief Croker, of the New York fire department, cautions the drivers of apparatus to be particularly careful as to how they drive when the streets are slippery and otherwise in had condition or arc obstructed in any way. He points out that it is better to be safe than sorry, and even to suffer a little delay than not to reach the fire at all through some accident or collision.


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