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The Nelson Evening Mail. TUESDAY, AUGUST 14, 1566.

It is no part of our preseut purpose to descant on the advantages that would accrue to Nelson, from the establishment of .waterworks, in furnishing a copious supply of water, not only, .for domestic, sanitary, and manufacturing purposes, but as the means of extinguishing and preventing fires. And yet the temptation is almost .irresistible to inquire, why an object so important and easy of attainment should be so long delayed. It has been asserted ou competent authority, that a system of waterworks equal to the wants of four times our population, could be established for £12,000 or £15,000 ; that the money could be obtained, without the aid of foreign capitalists; that, the undertaking would be highly remunerative ; and yet perhaps, another generation will be allowed to be gathered to their fathers before the object shall be realised. In one single hour a. fire has destroyed more property than would be equal to the cost of the most effectual preventive of fire, and an advantage which an ordinary display of energy would have secured has been delayed till the most ardent have ceased to hope for its fulfilment. Had the same amount of power been put forth in active enterprise which has been expended in the laborious occupation of doing nothing, we would have long since attained the object. Nelson, is nevertheless, a highly favored town. Water runs through its streets in sufficient quantity to aid materially iv the extinguishing of fires. In the absence of waterworks, if good use be made of its running stream, the various ponds that yield a constant supply, and the river that skirts a large portion of it, there will not be much reason to complain when fires take place. With two .engines such as we have, and a length of hose such as is required, a large portion of the town would be well served if the engines were well manned aud the fire brigade in an efficient state. Leaving the theoretical for the practical, we suggest the employment of means to meet temporarily our peculiar case. Iv many of the small towns in the Australian colonies, water is almost uuknown during a long period of the year. Wells and pumps are luxuries beyond the reach of multitudes, and no water reaches the population but what is supplied to them in water carts. The water cart is a great institution also in the eveut of fire, and numerous are the instances in which the energy aud promptitude of water carriers have saved small towns. Whilst availing ourselves of all the water that is easily attainable in Nelson, from running streams, ponds, and the river, by means of the engine and the hose, we suggest that a brigade of water carriers be formed and subsidised by the town authorities. We assume that an efficient Fire Brigade is formed, and on the spot, where a fire has broken out, within a few minutes after the alarm has beiug given. . To understand our argument, let the reader imagine that a dozen water carts with water had been at the scene of the fire of Tuesday last. The water they would have supplied, would not have saved the building in which the fire originated, but it most assuredly would those on the opposite sides of the street, had it been applied j udiciously by an experienced body of firemen. The abundance, of water, in Nelson, renders the water cart an almost unknown object. In towns where the water carrier is relied on for protection, he is an important personage. He is paid well for his services by the civic functionaries. A premium is given to the men who are first at the fire. Competition and honorable rivalry stimulate them to exertion. At night the water cart is always kept loaded and ready for action, and with the first alarm of fire a score of watermen hasten to- the scene of danger, to endeavor to excel their competitors and gain the prize. What is done .in a hundred-places, can be repeated with advantage in Nelson. If there is a paucity of. water carts, a number should -be prepared ..lyithout delay. As the "owners w_uld live -in different parts of the town they would select ftheVspots ; nearest to their.

residence where water is abundant. Buckets or pumps are inseparable attendants of the water carts, and volunteers are generally found in sufficient numbers to fill 'the carts with great rapidity. A difficulty will occur in bringing into operation this or any other innovation, and it is but at best a temporary expedient. It is one however sanctioned by experience, and till we can get a better, may be made the most of. It is in towns built principally of wood that the greatest interest is taken, or ought to be taken, iv the means of extinguishing fires. We are not surprised to learn, therefore, from the Dunedin papers, that the volunteer . fire- brigade there have been making experiments with a patent fire extinguisher. It consists of a can filled with, a liquid, which by means of a tap and flexible tube can be directed to any part of the intetioi' of an ordinary building. The liquid has an immediate deadening effect upon a fire, and is said to render incombustible any wood upon which it falls. - The idea is not a nncrw r one, but its . application on any extensive scale appears to be new in the colonies. Information, can be obtained on the subject, and if the apparatus be found to stand the test of experiment, it ought to be recommended for universal adoption. If this fire extinguisher accomplishes what is said of it, it ought to be procured by every householder in the colony. . Hotels and public institut ions should never be without them. However valuable fire brigades may be, that mechanism is beyond all price which enables a householder to extinguish an incipient fire without calling to his a ; d the costly appliances of the fireman's art, which, however willingly offered or skilfully used, do but mitigate one of the most dreadful calamities that flesh is heir to.

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Bibliographic details

The Nelson Evening Mail. TUESDAY, AUGUST 14, 1566., Nelson Evening Mail, Volume I, Issue 138, 14 August 1866

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1,028

The Nelson Evening Mail. TUESDAY, AUGUST 14, 1566. Nelson Evening Mail, Volume I, Issue 138, 14 August 1866

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