FIRE MARSHALS’ BULLETINS.
It is obvious to the most unconcerned inhabitant of this great country of booms that the fire marshal, if not anything else, is a boomer beyond comparison in the cause of fire prevention. His bulletins are not only interesting, but sometimes afford lively reading. That of L. T. Sussey, State Marshal of Kansas, for June, is a good example of the fire marshal as an earnest advocate of his cause and as showing much ability as an author. These are two qualifications that make him eminently fitted for his position. He wisely attributes nearly “all the ills that flesh is heir to,” to fire when he says: “Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow’? Who hath conflagrations? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that build with carelessness. They that triflle with fire.” In his answers above, the marshal is right, as nothing causes more misery and disaster than that remorseless monster, fire. The bulletin then sets forth the deaths and damages caused by gasoline, kerosene, gas and gunpowder in the State, as far as it was possible to get the information. As to school buildings, Marshal Hussey says: “School buildings that are not provided with ample fire exits and fire escapes must be made safe at once. There are several schools that have been notified of defects, and yet have not complied with the law. They must get busy at once.” The boards have the summer before them in which to put the buildings in shape and the Fire Marshal is determined that school shall not be resumed in the fall until the necessary escapes and exits are provided. As to the use of gasoline and kerosene, the statement is made that a very large proportion of deaths in Kansas is due to these causes, especially where used extensively in cook stoves. One instance of carelessness quoted certainly shows how necessary it is to have the watchful eye of the Marshal on all places where public meetings are held. This is the frame tabernacle in Kansas City that seats, on a push, 15,000 people. Its walls, roof, supports and seats are all made of dry pine, uncovered by paint. The floor has about four inches of sawdust almost coarse enough to be called shavings, where the dropping of a lighted match would start a fire in a few minutes. To guard against this danger every possible emergency has been provided for. In the first place, there are 29 double-door exits available for the crowd in case of need. In addition to the doors the side walls are so constructed that a crowd pushing against them from the inside would loosen the boards from their fastenings, allowing the crowd to escape at any point and without delay. Notwithstanding these precautions, such a crude structure as this ought not be allowed in so large and important a community as Kansas City. It is interesting and instructive to read the marshal’s report, the preparation of which shows much care and many details relating to his territory, besides exhibiting considerable intelligence in compilation. Such bulletins will, no doubt, do much good in preventing incipient fires, which, after all, are the fuses that start big conflagrations and drive communities to despair.