Boston to Protect Stable Animals from Fire
Forty-six horses perished in a fire that destroyed the old Saratoga street car barns in the Orient Heights section of East Boston early on the morning of August 11. The building was two and a half stories in height. 175 feet by 125 feet. Twentyfour tons of hay and grain were stored on the upper floor. A hundred wagons stored in an ell of the building were also burned. Two hostlers were overcome by smoke while attempting to lead out some of the horses. Dwellers in nearby tenements were driven to the street when these premises were threatened. Several roofs ignited, but these blazes were quicklyextinguished. Three alarms were sounded and the damage was estimated at $40,000.
The Boston Traveler commented on the fire in the following editorial:
“The fire in the old Saratoga street horse car barns, where forty-six horses perished, seems to prove conclusively that only automatic sprinklers can make large stables safe. In March, 1924, after just such a fire as raged yesterday morning, Gov. Cox sent a message to the Legislature asking that immediate action be taken to prevent these yearly holocausts. ‘Wholly apart from any question of economic loss,’ he said, ‘it is revolting’ to our sense of justice to hitch horses in places where in case of fire they must await agonizing death with no opportunity of escape. As a result of his action the Legislature passed the so-called ‘compromise’ bill which, although it did not enorcc the installation of sprinklers, provided other safe guards.
The Saratoga car barn stables bad two exits and two watchmen were employed. Apparently the owners had complied with the law. But the suffiocation of forty-six horses, all that were in the building, shows that as a preventative of deaths the law is utterly useless. Whatever the number of exits and whatever the number of watchmen, it proves a human impossibility to lead a large number of horses out of a stable once a fire has made headway. Sprinklers alone will prevent a sickening repetition of these tragedies year after year.”
Following the fire in the old Saratoga street car barns, Mayor Curley in a letter to Mark Sullivan, corporation counsel, advised him to prepare a law for transmission to the legislature which will prohibit the occupancy for stable purposes in excess of two stalls, any building, unless the building is equipped with sprinkler apparatus to the satisfaction of the building commissioner.
The present laws which were adopted in 1924 and are designed for the prevention of stable fires, reads as follows:
SECTION 86. No person shall stable a horse or mule on the second or any higher floor of any building unless there are two means of exit therefrom, at opposite ends of the building, to the main or street floor, unless such building is equipped with an automatic sprinkler system. This section shall not apply to cities.
SECTION 86-A. No person shall stable a horse or mule above the first or ground floor of any building not equipped with an automatic sprinkler system, or horses or mules exceeding six in all on the first or ground floor of any building not so equipped, unless there are two unobstructed means of exit from each floor whereon it or they are stabled, as far apart as practicable and so constructed as to grade that the said animal or animals can quickly and safely leave the building in case of fire and approved as to situation, arrangement and utility by the chief of the fire department. The person in charge of horses and mules stabled in any building not equipped with such a system and requiring two exits as aforesaid shall cause each such animal to use such exit at least once a week. This and the four following sections shall apply only to cities.
SECTION 86-B. NO person shall stable horses or mules exceeding fifteen in all at any one time in a building not equipped with an automatic sprinkler system unless a watchman is employed constantly on the premises to guard against fire.
SECTION 86-C. NO person shall have a lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe in his possession in any building in which by the provisions of section eighty-six A. two unobstructed means of exit are required, or in which by the provisions of section eighty-six B the employment of a watchman is required, except in a room in said building made fireresisting.
SECTION 86-D. On every floor of a building not equipped with an automatic sprinkler system, where horses or mules are stabled, there shall be kept in accessible locations and filled at all times, four pails of water and one pail of sand, for each one thousand square feet of floor space, to be used for no other purpose than extinguishing fires and to be so marked.
SECTION 86-E. In the metropolitan fire prevention district the state fire marshal or any person designated by him, and in cities outside said district, the chief of the fire department or any person designated by him, may, at all reasonable hours, enter into buildings within their jurisdiction where horses or mules are stabled, or upon premises adjacent thereto, for the purpose of enforcing sections eighty six-a to eighty six-d, inclusive, and if any such official or person so authorized finds the existence of conditions likely to cause a fire in such buildings or on such premises, he shall order such conditions to be remedied. Such order shall be served by delivering the same in hard or by posting the same in a conspicuous place on the building or premises affected thereby.
SECTION 86-E. Whoever violates any provision of sections eighty-six to eighty-six-d, inclusive, shall he punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one month, or both. Whoever, refuses or unreasonably neglects to comply with any order issued under section eighty-six-E, shall IK* punished by a fine of not more than ten dollars for each day during which such refusal or neglect continues after service of said order.
Plans Made for Shenandoah, Pa., Station—Plans are being drawn for the erection of a fire station in Shenandoah, Pa.