Trusting to Luck and Fire Extinguishers.
Oakham is a small wooden village of Massachusetts, many of whose buildings are of quite a respectable antiquity and, therefore, all the more likely to burn up very quickly, when a fire breaks out. Yet it has no fire department, nor any water supply, but depends entirely upon bucket brigades and fire-extinguishers to put out whatever flames have to be encountered. This is to take big chances—bigger than that which lost the villagers $12,000 (with no insurance) the other day.-especially when a high wind is blowing or the extinguishers are exhausted. That these can sometimes do good work is granted; that they can be universally trusted to take the plpce of a properly equiped fire department and a waterworks system must be denied. If any village, with no better preparation to withstand an outbreak of fire, does escape destruction, it will be, not a miracle, but more by good luck than good management. Such luck, however, seems to have been on the side of Oakham the other day, when the Park View Inn was ablaze. It was a two-story wooden building, standing as it has stood for nearly a century, in the middle of the village and covering half an acre of ground. The flames, whose origin is unknown, broke out in the store, which, with its outbuildings, was filled with all the accustomed medley of goods, that are found in the general store of any country town—furniture, hay, groceries, drygoods, feed and the like. The wind was so high that it carried sparks and burning embers to a distance of nearly two miles. The men and lads, even the women, worked their hardest to keep the flames under. All of the two dozen extinguishers that the village boasted were brought into action, and it is greatly to the credit of the extemporised band of firefighters that they managed to keep the blaze to the place of origin. The town’s folk are greatly elated over their prowess—and their extinguishers, both of which they consider jointly saved the little town. So proud, indeed, are they of their achievements that they scout the idea of providing themselves with any better protection for the future than their much loved extinguishers can supply—and have instructed their fire warden to order a fresh lot!