Fire Prevention in Knoxville, Tenn.
A recent number of the official bulletin of the state fire prevention department contains an article on “Making Knoxville Fireproof” and the following extract from the report of Deputy Fire Commissioner W. S. Anderson to Commissioner W. B. Bell is of interest:
“I take this opportunity of expressing my deep appreciation of the services rendered this department by Capt. W. T. Duncan, city inspector of Knoxville. We began inspectiong the city of Knoxville about the first day of November at the Tennessee river, at house number one, Central Avenue, and we followed this street and inspected every house on both sides of its entire length, thus making 665 inspections. We issued 413 orders, many of them being orders to raze the buildings. It is due the city of Knoxville to state that this street is known as the Knoxville Bowery. On State Street is situated the first capitol of the State of Tennessee. We found this building in a fairly good state of preservation with the old belfry and bell still standing as it did many, many years ago. It may not be out of place to state herein that the city of Knoxville is making now some efforts to purchase this property and to set it aside as one of its historic show places. The last part of our work there was re-inspecting said section and following up the orders issued to see that they had been properly complied with. We were very much gratified on said re-inspection to find that a large per cent, of said orders had been complied with, and the kindly spirit exhibited by the people of this section deserves our highest compliments. Again I feel like saying as a compliment to Capt. W. T. Duncan that the city of Knoxville is the best inspected town from a fire standpoint that there is in the state of Tennessee and we know of no other cause for said good conditions except the efforts of Capt. Duncan.”
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The bulletin contains much valuable information on fire losses and preventive methods in use throughout the United States and Canada. The loss from fires for September in these two countries, according to the bulletin, was $29,083,000. During the first nine months of 1919, the value of property destroyed by fire in the United States and Canada was estimated at $204,825,075. In 1917 the fire loss due to petroleum and its products was more than $5,000,000. In the same year the state of Texas alone had 2,500 fires started in ginning plants, about 70 per cent, of which were due to static electricity and spontaneous combustion according to the fire prevention bulletin.