The circumstances of a case not infrequently point to a particular person as the one who may with propriety intervene. Thus, in a case requiring the payment of funeral expenses, a relative, friend, or neighbor may more appropriately intervene than a stranger (post, Sec. 205). So, where the law required a theater lessee to maintain a fire alarm system and clothed certain public officers with ample power to compel him to discharge the duty, it was held inappropriate for a company engaged in the business of installing and maintaining fire alarm systems to intervene.1 One who, in disregard of the obvious proprieties, pushes in ahead of a more suitable person, is an officious meddler and is not entitled to compensation.2
1 Manhattan Fire Alarm Co. v. Weber, 1898, 22 Misc. R. 729; 60 N. Y. Supp. 42. Action against the lessee of a theater, for the value of the maintenance of a fire alarm system installed for a former lessee. "Moreover," said the court, "the record fails to disclose whether or not any other fire alarm system was provided by the defendants during the period in question."
2 See Dunbar v. Williams, 1813, 10 Johns. (N. Y.) 249, (medical attendance on a slave).
The preservation of another's life is always dutiful. The preservation of another's property may be regarded as dutiful if it appears that the danger to the property is so imminent that notice probably cannot be given to the owner in time to enable him to take the necessary steps to preserve it, or that probably he will be unable, without assistance, to preserve it. The fact that the owner neglects or is unwilling to take the necessary steps to protect his property is not enough.3