Calling the Fire Department Promptly
One lesson that the great fire that New York experienced when the Standard Oil Works, at Greenpoint, went up in smoke and flame has taught—one might almost say with truth the lesson—is the necessity for large plants to notify the fire department at once when a fire occurs. It is quite natural that the plant department should wish the credit of handling a fire in its establishment alone and unaided by the local city department. But, in the meantime, there is always the peril, especially in establishments handling immense quantities of inflammable material—such as, in the present instance, oil—of the fire getting beyond control of the plant department, and in that case the delay in calling in the city department is well nigh fatal. Of course, the plant department should handle the fire at once; that is what it is for. But, while holding the blaze in check as far as it is able, and extinguishing it if it can, the city department should be notified at once and without a moment’s delay. It is an easy matter to ring in an alarm, and then both departments will be relieved of the responsibility for the consequences of a fatal delay. There should be some method by which establishments, relying upon their private fire departments to handle fires, could he made responsible for the consequences when this action results in disaster and damage to their neighbors’ property. At least the expense of the extra number of fire companies summoned through a double or triple alarm, made necessary by this delay, should be chargeable to these establishments by law. This would result in more promptitude in calling the regular fire department in cases of a threatening fire.