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vapor increases until it fills the lamp and is forced up by the side of the wick to the flame, the vapor takes fire and burns its way back into the lamp, when the whole of the vapor explodes, setting fire to the oil. Then the vapor sets fire to and kills the person holding it, and the oil sets fire to the house, which is often also destroyed.
These fires follow the introduction of such “ Patent Oils ” all over the country where they are sold. The maker of the oil grows rich in a neighborhood, then migrates to another State to follow the same devilish vocation. I know of no punishment worthy of the offense, unless we imitate that of the ancient Romans, and sew him in a sack saturated with his oil and set it on fire.
Never blow down the chimney of a kerosene lamp to extinguish it. Never use great quart lamps. They are very dangerous. If you have them throw them against a stone wall. Never buy the cheapest oil. “ Get the best.”
Lamps when lighted in the morning without being filled, and taken quickly about the house, are very liable to explode. A neighbor left his house before light in the morning some time ago to do the morning work of the barn. Not long after he heard an explosion, and the bright light in his house told him where was the danger. His wife had risen, and lighting the kerosene lamp,
A HARMLESS EXPLOSION.
was walking across the room, when it exploded, throwing the burning naphtha over her, and setting her clothing on fire. She was quite near some water which she at once used, and with the help of her husband the fire her
and on the house was soon out. She was, however, badly burned but her life was saved.
But many people will purchase poor oils, if a few cents cheaper than the best, and accidents will happen in the best of families. A little anecdote with its caution shall therefore end this chapter.
Sometime since I had a conversation upon this subject with a gentleman, who had the good sense to speak of it to his family, and they formed a little Home Fire Brigade. Soon afterwards, a few minutes after one of the young ladies had retired for the night an explosion was heard. The family rushed up-stairs and upon opening the room they found the lamp exploded, but the young lady was
as snug as a bug in a rug," the fire all out and the danger over.
HOW TO PROTECT OUR HOMES AND WORKSHOPS
ALL cities and large towns are said to be "protected” by “ fire departments ;” but small towns, villages, and the farming population, however much they may be assessed to pay for the town engines, are most of them so far away that the engines are of no use for preventing fires, while they too often see their barns and outhouses destroyed by incendiary fires, set that there may be a “good time.”
The common manual engine cannot be distributed in such places, as its house and the engine would be too expensive, and there would not be men enough found to work it, until the fire had burnt out. The popular steam fire-engine for such purposes would be about as useful as an elephant for weeding carrots! There are engines, cheap and efficient, which can be worked by men or women, boys or girls, and which should be purchased by every respectable family in all the length and breadth of the land. But as a vast majority
A HOME FIRE COMPANY.
of our people do not know that there are such useful machines, and as all are exposed to fires at any hour, I propose to show that many fires can be prevented by an earnest application of water from the common utensils of the house.
A water-pail or two, a pint pot, and an axe, make a “splendid ” apparatus for preventing many fires. Neither the man who doubts this nor all his neighbors owns a thousandth part as much property as they have already saved or as much as they will save, before every person is properly protected by something better. A short time since, on a cold, windy day, fire was discovered in a room of a large house, in which there were two women only. The room was very much on fire when first seen. One woman pumped the water, took it to the other, and begged her to give up the house, and save what furniture they could, and themselves; the other dashed the water on the fire as fast and as well as she could, and encouraged the first to keep on fighting the fire. The result was that soon the fire gave in, and retreated into the inside waste places round the chimney — nice little places from where fires can work their way out of sight to every portion of a house. At this time a neighbor, a fire engineer, arrived, and with a hatchet soon cut his way into the fire, when a dipperful or two of water dashed it out, and the hatchet was again
put to work.
He knew the efficiency of small engines, and, said he, “when I went to work, I would have given a hundred dollars for one.” There were plenty of them only a third of a mile away. A man was sent to give word to the steamengine, two miles away, and to get the small ones. He was a man of great ideas, and so sent for the steamer, and neglected the small ones. But the engineer's pail, hatchet, and dipper waited for nothing. Crack went the hatchet, and slap went water from the dipper, and in ten minutes or so he had the satisfaction of resting, and thinking that his neighbors, through his noble efforts, had not been turned houseless into the streets on one of the coldest days of the winter. The same kind of courage as that of the women and man, the same simple little implements as well applied, would prevent a great portion of the fires which now afflict our country. The great steamer was hurried down in time to find the fire out, and the people quietly about their usual avocations. Some years ago, a fire caught in the wood-box of a small house, and an alarm was soon given to the neighborhood, where, at one of the houses, 'a small engine was kept. In the room on fire, the clothes of a washing were hung up and were dried. They caught, and burned like tinder. The fire had charred the whole room, and nearly burned through