A NEW DANGER.
___ « A new theory of the fire at the Melbonrna B joa has been raised. It is suggested that the fire may hove been Originated by the acotdent>l oontaot of the telephone and electric wires, Slight oat* breaks rf fire from thia cause have been aJtTmtngly frequent of late; and it 1b anticipated that aa the electric system is extended aooidenti of thia nature will increase In proportion. Oat of the numerous eaiea of the kind which have been reported one may be olted. The telephone of a large firm, carrying on business In Blfsabeth street and at South Melbourne} has been twice destroyed by the sadden fusing of the wires. On eaoh occasion a jet of flame folly 18 n m length abot out from the instrument, and the woodwork of the telephone at each end was Instantly destroyed. Had anyone been using the Instrument there oan be no doubt that the ■ effect would have been immediately fatal. A complaint waa made to |tbe telegraph authorities, and a reply was received that the fire was caused by the wires of the Sleotrlo Lighting Company, wbloh by oontaot with the Postal Department, are carried overhead on the telegraph poles with tbe telephone wire. A a the department had a permanent oontraot with the Electric Lighting Company no remedy was possible. Mr James (general manager of the telegraph branch) admits that this account Is substantially true. There have, he #ays. been several similar outbreaks line* the eleotrlo wlrea were first put up, some months ago , and there is always a possibility of fusion wherever two wires erois. He points out, however, that the danger would be precisely the tame whether the electric wires were carried on j the telegaaph poles or on a separate line, < 10 long as they were overhead at all. Only ' •A underground system of wirea can •vert ail ohanoe of oontaot, and as Government has no power to compel the companies to adopt any partioqlar principle, apodal legislation will be requited to deal «Ub thj tnbjtot,— (gxphaßgefr #a _.
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