TO THE PUBLIC.
MODE OF EXTINGUISHING FIRE.
THE awful scenes we have just witnessed, will, I trust, be sufficient to call the
public attention to the subject of this paper ; and that liberality which in the present day
is so encouraging to the progress of Science, will, I hope, secure it a candid examina-
tion. When witnessing the late dreadful Fire in the High Street, an idea suddenly
occurred to me, embracing, as I thought, so much in its object, by conducing to the
welfare of my Fellow-Creatures, that I conceived it a duty incumbent upon me to make
it known. The accumulation of intelligence occasioned by the recent occurrences, has
so much occupied the Journals, as to close that source of communication. Without
further preface, therefore, I shall proceed in the relation of the plan I have in view.
To those at all conversant in Chemistry, the power of the Ærial Fluid, known by the name
of Carbonic Acid Gas, in extinguishing Fire, is perfectly familiar. This Gas exists so
abundantly in nature, that it would seem to have been formed for some most important
purpose ; and in common chalk is so predominant, that by a trifling degree of heat, it
may be expelled in great quantities. Without enumerating the various modes in which it
may be procured, I shall merely propose, that a Company be formed, and Gas-holders
erected, the Gas to be thus distributed, like that of Coal Gas, through Towns. The apart-
ments of every dwelling-house shall be provided with pipes, to be p aced at the highest part
of the room, and only to be connected with the main pipes when their use is required.
The connexion may be formed in a similar manner to that which is at present used
when water is required, by the opening of the plug. By such an arrangement, any Fire
in a dwelling-house may be extinguished in a few minutes. As this Gas may be dreaded
from its deleterious effects in the inhalation, all danger is thus removed. The specific
gravity of this Gas being greater than Atmospherical Air, it will consequently require the
pressure of the Gas-holder to expel it from the pipes. All communication between the
Gas-holder and the pipes may be intercepted by a stop-cock, only to be opened in case of
necessity. Other means may be used of forcing the Gas, such as Pumps, &c. of which I
shall speak more in detail, if my plan should be recognised. After the Gas has been used,
if necessary, the common Fire-Engines might convey lime water for its removal ; or if
pumps be used for raising it, they can be easily made to return it. There are persons
who may object to the expense of this undertaking ; but when we take into consideration
the anxiety and alarm which this proposal seems calculated to remove, humanity would
suggest its trial. The Carbonic Acid Gas generated in Breweries might be collected
for this purpose.
FREDERICK W. MORRIS,
EDINBURGH, 19th Nov. 1824. STUDENT OF MEDICINE.
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1824 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(071)
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