Further Theatre Protection.
“ The director of Public Safety in Philadelphia,” says Building, “ in view of the recent disastrous theatre fires in that city, costing thirteen lives and great destruction of property, has made a report to the Mayor urging upon councils the passage of such legislation as will secure better protection in theatres from fires. ‘A brief study of the matter,’ he says, has convinced me that every theatre should have on the stage, in some conspicuous place, a keyless door fire alarm box, a large or several small fire extinguishers, one or two firemen from fire bureau during each performance to see that hose and extinguishers are always ready for use, and to use them if occasion required; that proscenium walls should be so built as to extend above the roof of the auditorium, so as to isolate the auditorium from the stage in case of fire as completely as possible; that an iron or asbestos curtain should be provided; that incandescent lighting be used on the stage; that the stage should have skylights, which could be arranged to open automatically and provide a draught to draw the fire upward and away from the main portion of the house, and that the galleries and all the support be iron.’ ” He suggests that the matter be referred to a commission for thorough investigation and study, and that the safeguards finally adopted should be made obligatory upon proprietors of places of amusement. At the theatre fire inquest the architect of the house, Geo. W. Plowman, described its construction. He saw in no way in which the stage exits could have been improved. The border lights were protected by a three or four-inch mesh. They could not well be smaller on account of the loss of light. He believed in the efficacy of asbestos curtains as a safeguard. Mr. Allen, another architect, called later, had no faith in asbestos curtains, and thought that an iron drop curtain would not stand such a furnace of flames for more than three minutes.