Watson Building Fire at Lowell.
The W. S. Watson building, at Lowell, Mass., occupied by the Aithur C. Stern Shoe company, recently suffered from a fire, the loss at which was $50,000. The blaze started at 11:47 p. m., when there was no work going on. No night watchman was employed, and the alarm was turned in from an outside box. and three minutes afterwards thermostats installed ten years ago set the factory bell ringing. Both the liter niostats and the sprinkler rotary alarm systems were altogether too slow in acting. Apparently they were defective. The wet sprinkler system, which was installed in 1897, failed to extinguish the flames: that was done entirely by the good work of the city tire department, under Chief Hornier, the city water alone being used. The fire started on the third flopr, possibly front spontaneous combustion of refuse near the elevator and stairway, and was almost altogether prevented from extending to the floors beneath by the elevator inelosure and the inclosed stairway. All the loss by tire was on the third floor; but that on the second and first floors was heavy. So far as concerned the sprinklers on the third Hoor, they were an entire failure; no water at all went through tinm, and the inspector’s opinion is that the sprinkler valves were closed—another instance of the failure of the firemen factor in doing its duty. Just a month before a small fire in about tie same place, arising from spontaneous combustion, was extinguished by the sprinklers before the city lire department arrived. But, if refuse is allowed to accumulate, as semis to be the case in that factory, it is time that attention was directed to that bad practice, and that someone should be sent by the insurance companies concerned at frequent, irregular and unexpected intervals to see that the t mployes clear away their refuse every evening before closing down tor the night; also, that neglect as to (he the:niostats and sprinklers should entail a in irked punishment upon whatever employe is charged with the duty of seeing that they are always in fud working order.