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STOP THE FIRE FIRST.
the partitions. Two men of good sense came toward the fire from one side, and a young woman with an engine from the other. The men, with plenty of water at hand, dashed it out just as the engine was ready to do so. Here were two ways. to “ choke a cat” to prevent a fire. Either could have done it, if the other had not been tried, while the house would have burned up before the great engines of the town, two miles away, could have known anything about it.
Many years ago a fire was discovered in a woolen mill near Boston.' The neighbors rallied, and thinking it could not be saved, they went to work with a will to save such property as they could reach. One of those people who look and think as well as work, came in, and looking about, he cried out, “ Hold on here! Let us put out this fire, and then we shall have plenty of time to take out the goods !” In a minute he had them fighting the fire, and in a short time it was out. It was then quite as much work to return the goods. as it had been to extinguish the fire !
Some years ago, a house was set on fire near Mount Auburn. It was a new, unfinished house, and one of the rooms of the first story was in a roaring, blazing fire when it was discovered. The first man who got to the fire caught hold of the nice new pump in the kitchen and wrenched it off!
But where there is a will there is a way, and soon a dozen men were engaged in throwing water from a neighboring ditch upon the fire, with pails. Fire is a great coward, and gets out of the way of such deluges as quick as possible, and this one did not get into any room but that in which it was discovered. Some time after the people who put the fire out, had got home, and to bed, an engine or two came rushing from the neighboring city. The fire was out long before they had got the alarm. The pump was brought back safely the next morning. The man who "put the pump out,” was soon afterward chosen one of the firewards! At the next fire in the neighborhood, it was a raw cold morning, and the fire was set in a great barn. The neighbors got tubs and pails of water and placed them so as to throw the water upon the house, if it should get warm, and then went nearer to the fire to keep themselves from freezing. When lo! our fire officer came rushing up, mounted the roof of the house and threw water for a long time on it, where it froze as fast as it fell. Such people are found at every country fire. I once saw a person go to work on a great shed with an axe to cut it in two! He could have done his work in about a week, and with a scarf twenty feet wide. The fire soon drove him off. But there is a bright side also. I never yet went to a
AXES AND WATER.
fire in the country, that I did not find numbers of people willing to work, and who worked with a will, and also with judgment.
If a house takes fire around a chimney, get your axe or hatchet and a pail of water and tell the people to bring a pint pot, and then go to work quickly, for the smoke will drive you out if
your work is not soon finished. A few blows with the axe and a pint or two of water, and so on; the axe and the water will make short work of quite a fire. A fine large house was observed to have smoke in the upper rooms, and upon examination fire was found in the partition, set from the chimney. Fire! was cried, and the people soon filled the house. All could see where the fire was, and its crackling could be heard. Yet no one suggested an axe to enable the water to be got upon it. Soon the smoke drove them away, when they cleared the house, and waited for the steamer. When this had arrived, the fire had burned the upper half of the house, and as there was no water for the steamer or other great engines, the fire made short work of the other half. The people and the firemen of that village looked on at its destruction, never once supposing that the fire preventive arrangements in that town were not perfect! Many long years since, a farmer on his way to Boston with a load of wood, on a cold, windy morning, when the thermometer was at zero, saw a small light before him. As he approached, it grew larger, and he saw it was a house on fire on the roof, a long distance before him. Leaving his team to follow as it would, he ran on to alarm the family ; soon he saw something white flying about the roof of the house, and before he arrived, the something white took the form of the old man of the house, who in the smallest possible amount of clothing, had got upon the roof and was dashing the water, brought by the family to him, upon the fire. The fire wilted, and a bundle of shingles and a few boards was all that was required to repair the house. By the time the farmer had helped the “ man in white” to empty a mug of cider, the wood team came along and the farmer went off with it, a better fireman for what he had seen that night. These examples of how buildings may be saved when on fire without engines, should prompt every person, male or female, to instantly attack fires. Thousands of houses are burned every year, which could have been put out in a few minutes, and with the loss of a few dollars, if they had been earnestly fought with the common pails of the house for
weapons. The excitement, terror, and confusion attending fires would be almost entirely prevented, if
every person would at once do what they could to help extinguish a fire.
A PAIL IN TIME.
There is no more danger when working at a fire than there is from any other kind of earnest hard work. And there is no place where an ardent effort is likely to be more successful than when fighting fire.
A few minutes' cool and well directed hard work has often saved many thousands of dollars. No
person will save a house by his or her earnest work without teaching others, who will also be successful if placed in like trying circumstances. Many years ago my father woke up in the night, and found the room full of smoke. He called FIRE up
the stairs, and then found the fire in a closet, and put it out with a few pails of water. About fifteen minutes afterwards, his apprentice, nineteen years old, came down the stairs nicely dressed and ready for a day's work. Father dressed himself after he had put out the fire. If he had not, the apprentice might have been burned to death, as he slept just over the fire.
A nurse had come to the house that day, who took up the wood ashes, and placed them in a wooden bucket, which she put in a closet. She was a pretty good nurse for mother and the baby, but a wonderful
person to nurse a fire, as this little story illustrates.