ARE FIREPROOF BUILDINGS FIREPROOF?

ARE FIREPROOF BUILDINGS FIREPROOF?

A PITTSBURGH correspondent’s letter which appears In another column asks the pertinent question : “ Are our many so-called fireproof buildings fireproof?” The experiences of Pittsburgh, borne out by those of other cities, should show him that, even so far as regards their outer walls, such structures are not fireproof, especially when, as has happened in this city and elsewhere, these walls art; pierced with air and lightshaft, windows, which, even when protected with iron shutters, admit the flames from a fierce fire in the buildings ndjoining them. Much less can they be looked upon as absolutely fireproof, when their window frames their doorways, their panelings, doors, and partitions are of wood which has not been rendered non-flammable, when their rooms are stutTed with combustible materials, or when explosive compounds are stored withiu them. Even when Buch buildings may be of fireproof construction, they may yet be quite us liable to destruction by fire as any of those of the oldfashioued quick-burning type, simply because they either have not standpipe connections with the street mains, or because, if they have them, they do not correspond to tho gauge of the city’s fire department, in which case the standpipe, with Its hose connectionBon every floor, might as well be absent for all the service it can render in putting out a fire above a certain height. Till that fact is universally recognized, till the municipal authorities take the necessary measures to see that ail such standpipe couuectlons are uniform, and till the insurance offices either cancel existing policies or refuse to grant them to those who do not conform to this rule, and see that, the use of nonflammable wood in the construction of such buildings, and of wireglass windows and, at least, the standard shutters, is of obligation upon owners and teuants, the term “absolutely fireproof” as applied to such structures is a misnomer.

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