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*. There are several facta of a highly unsatisfactory nature brought out by the circumstances attending the recent serious fire at Sunny side. To begin with, the prime cause of the disaster appears to have been that stupid error which architects ought long ago to have discarded, but of which every now and then we have examples— the carrying of timbers into chimnoy flues— one of the beams of the roof, m this instance running into tho chimney. Fire is often communicated to timber m such aposition, days and even weeks before the actual outbreak of a conflagration, smouldering and making its way through the wood till it arrives at some point where a draft fans it into sudden flame. Hundreds of fires are known to bare been caused m this manner, and m hundreds more, Gould, the truth be ascertained, it would be found that they had originated m the same way. Surely the emphatic warning of Wednesday last should serve to prevent so obvious > an error on the part of architects and builders m the future. Then, the fire having occurred through an easily avoidable cause, it is no less unsatisfactory to find that such appliances as had been provided within and without the building itself, for the purpose of dealing with such an emergency, were wholly inefficient, had they been fully available, »nd, worse ftjll, tbftt eren such as there

were at hand wore not capable of being {turned to account, having been used for storing blacking, etc., or being locked •nd keyless Yet, again, the length of time which elapsed before the engines telephoned for from Christchurch arrived on the scene, m consequence of horses having to be hunted for all over the city, is not I creditable to those who have the management of Fire Brigade matters, for m a city, such as Christchurch, with a large number of wooden buildings, horses ought certainly to be kopt harnessed m readiness at all hours of the day and night m immediate proximity to the engines. Lastly, the fact that an institution whoso buildings are valued at i 667,000 was permitted to remain wholly uninsured is the reverse of creditable to the Government, the more especially that it has been ascertained that insurance could have been effected at the low rate of 8s per cent. It may be possible that if all the buildings belong ing to Government wore insured the premium would amount over a period of years to a larger sura than that of the damage by fire within the term, and if so the Government should be its own insurer, paying the premiums annually into an insurance fund, out of which such losses cou'd be defrayed from time to time, but either m this way, or through insurance with public offices, the risk should be thus evenly spread over each year, instead of there being a necessity every now and then to provide large lump sums out of the general taxation. One •' horse has been stolen ' it is true, but there are many more m the stable, and it mußt be locked for the future. Thus far we have dealt with the unsatisfactory features of the case. Let us now add that there were many circumstances which call for congratulation. These are the admirable con duct of the officers of the Asylum, to which is largely due the fact that there was no loss of life to record, and the equally praiseworthy courage, energy, and discipline shown by the members of the Fire Brigades, the Addington Bailway Workshop men, and others, who nobly did their duty, often at great personal risk. Testimony to the splendid behaviour of the firemen is borne m emphatic terms by Mr E. W . Seager — he himself also rendered great assistance — who writes that he was a witness to instances of bravery and singleness of purpose on the part of members ot the Brigades " that eclipse many deeds of courage for which the Victoria Cross has been awarded."

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Bibliographic details

THE BUNNYSIDE FIRE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1975, 20 October 1888

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THE BUNNYSIDE FIRE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1975, 20 October 1888

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