When the fire was at last got in hand, it
was found that a block covering an area of 200 feet by 150 feet had been totally destroyed. The damage has in some statements been put at 2500,000, of which loss very little is covered by insurance. This is the seventh fire at Mr. Whiteley's since the year 1880. As to the exact origin of the fire, nothing is known. There seems, however, every reason to believe that it was the work of an incendiary. Trade jealousy has been suggested as the motive; but why should the small tradesman injured by the competition of the great emporiums attack Mr. Whiteley only, and never
attempt the Civil Service or the Army and Navy Stores, which do him quite as much harm ? Another explanation is sought in the alleged harshness of Mr. Whiteley to his workieople. If, as is-stated, his rules are oppressive, this is a far more likely explanation. There is nothing like the bitterness of an employs with an nuredressed grievance against his master. The full resources of the Fire Brigade were employed to keep the flames, in check. Almost all the engines at their disposal, and no less than three and a half miles of hose, were made nee of during the whole of Saturday night in throwing 56,000 tons of water on the burning buildings. What the result would have been had the services of the men and engines been required at the- East End at the same time, it is impossible to say. Certainly the Bill for strengthening the Brigade, now before Parliament, cannot be said to lack arguments for its passing. The police and firemen, as usual, behaved with the greatest courage and devotion.