Is the Fire Service Being Sabotaged by Federal Bureaus?
THE Director of the Office of Civilian Defense, James M. Landis, recently stated: “The American Fire Service has undertaken the task of preparing for the hazards of airborne incendiary attacks with a spirit and willingness which are an inspiration to the other civilian protection services. Confronted with the herculean task of gearing departmental operations to wartime tempo and of enrolling and training a large number of auxiliary firemen, most fire departments, from the small volunteer company in the rural areas to the full-time departments in large cities, have met this new challenge bv calling on a reservoir of resourcefulness built up through years of peacetime fire fighting operations.”
And, it may be added, the fire service can be counted upon to be prepared, within the limits of their facilities, to handle any situation which may arise.
No Apparatus Restrictions in Great Britain
British cities early learned the value of the fire service as a branch of national defense, when it fell the duty of the fire fighter to prevent complete destruction of British cities during the blitzkreig of December, 1940.
The weakness of the British fire forces in coping with wartime conditions was clearly demonstrated by this first great blitzkrieg. And it stands to the credit of the British officials that no time was lost in strengthening the service mechanically and otherwise in preparation for future attacks.
Today, the fire service in Great Britain stands on a par with the military as the first line of defense.
The lessons the British learned are being forgotten on this side of the water, if recent actions by Federal bureaus may be taken as any criterion. In an endeavor to increase munitions output to the maximum, restrictions are being placed on the manufacture of fire apparatus. So severe are these restrictions becoming that they now threaten to seriously impair the efficiency of American fire departments. This dangerous development is probably due to the placing of the power of decision as to which cities need fire apparatus and equipment in the hands of political appointees who know little of fire protection requirements: who know even less about the tools of the profession.
The Apparatus Bottleneck
Today the bottleneck of fire apparatus rests in the Bureau of Governmental Requirements, a comparatively new bureau within the War Production Board.
In its over-zealousness to curb non-military demands for critical materials this bureau is making it impossible for fire departments, sorely in need of apparatus, to protect war and other industries, to secure replacements of apparatus and equipment.
Fire departments already weakened mechanically are faced with a tremendous increase in fire hazards due to stepped up production of war munitions.
Despite the fact that national fire losses are mounting, the manufacture of fire apparatus is being further curtailed.
The situation today is extremely serious. That there have not been even a greater number of defense industries fires (and there have been plenty during the past six months) can be charged to good luck.
In refusing priority numbers for fire apparatus to many fire departments. it has been pointed out that these departments are scheduled to receive some of the emergence apparatus and equipment to be issued by the Office of Civilian Defense. But. apparently, the purpose of this O.C.D. apparatus has been forgotten, or is not known by the individuals passing on priorities. For on March 6, l942, the President issued an executive order covering regulations concerning civilian defense, wherein it is stated “It shall be a condition of all such loans (of O. C. D. apparatus) that the civil authority to which each loan is made shall give assurance to the Director that the property loaned shall be adequately protected and maintained, that it shall not be used otherwise than for protection of persons and property from bombing attacks, sabotage or other war hazards.” Thus the O. C. D. apparatus is not for use in everyday fire fighting.
In the paragraphs below a number of typical cases are cited wherein fire departments have been denied the right to purchase apparatus. The cities listed are but a small percentage of the hundreds which have reported their inability to secure sorely needed apparatus. Many of the cities listed are not scheduled to receive any O. C. D. apparatus due to the fact that they are not within the socalled attack zone or because they are not sufficiently large. It should further be pointed out that the O. C. D. has made no provision for furnishing fire alarm apparatus, hydrants, and other vital tools for fire fighting operations. Thus when a department is denied this special equipment, there is no alternative course which it may follow.
A review of the following cases, we feel sure, will convince the reader that, though not intentional, the fire service of the nation is being sabotaged by the action of Federal agencies in making it impossible to secure replacement apparatus, or additional apparatus, needed to bring the fire fighting forces up to even a moderate state of efficiency.
The information in the summary has been secured through courtesy of the International Association of hire Chiefs, who recently made a nationwide survey of the fire service to determine the situation insofar as securing new fire apparatus and equipment are concerned.
Requests for Fire Apparatus Turned Down
In the following cases, the status indicated is as of June 15. Any changes since that date have not been included.
Case 1. A New England town applied April 14 for priority for two combination pumping engines. This application was denied, despite the fact that this town had a fire a year ago in one of its largest industries, a rubber works, and 1,000 tons of crude rubbber was destroyed. The department had not been increased in strength since that time. In this town today there are eight factories each doing 100 per cent work for the government, such as equipment for bombers, insulation material for Signal Corps, parachute cords, woolen materials for War Department, etc.
Case 2, A large midwestern city, in which are located manufacturing plants supplying arms, equipment, machinery and tools for use by the Government in the war effort, applied on February 17, 1942, for priority for four pumpers, and on March 9 for two aerial trucks. The department is badly in need of this apparatus to replace machines which have been forced out of the service by age. Priority was granted on March 9 for two aerials, and for two pumpers on May 30. The priority for two pumpers still remains to be granted. In other words, the bureaus at Washington arbitrarily decide how many pieces of apparatus a city shall have no matter what its needs may be.
Case 3. A Pacific Coast city applied for priority on January 7, 1942, for two 750-gallon pumping engines. This request was denied on May 28, 1942. These engines are badly needed to bring the department up to strength, and to replace obsolete machines. The denial was made despite the fact that within this city are located factories manufacturing gun carriages and special high pressure fire equipment for the Army and Navy, and the fire department of this city must also stand by to aid three military establishments in the event of a fire.
Case 4. A city in the southwestern part of the country applied on May 10, 1942, for priorities for four triple combination pumping units. They received an A-10 priority rating for one unit only, although the city has about 260 firms of various sizes manufacturing such needed war products as four-motored heavy bombers, and uniforms for the Army. In addition, there are located within its borders large packing houses, a steel mill and foundry and the U. S. Army Quartermaster Depot.
Case 5. A town in the Middle Atlantic section, having eighteen large industrial plants making guns and shells, pump condensers and machine tools, crankcases for planes, radio tubes, cranes and chains for the Navy, and searchlight bulbs, applied on May 22 for priority for a 1,000-gallon triple combination pumper and an aerial truck, only to be turned down. They have received no word as to whether they are to receive any of the O. C. D. apparatus.
Protection Denied for Munitions
Case 6. A city in the northern midwest section applied on February 19, 1942, for a priority for a 1,250 gallon pumping engine and a 100-foot aerial ladder truck, only to have the request denied. This city has a number of plants manufacturing such products as airplane units, armor plate, industrial tractors and gun carriages. In addition it must render aid, should a fire occur, to an army camp five miles from the city and a non-commissioned officer housing project just outside the city limits.
Case 7. Another city in the midwest applied on March 18, 1942, for priority for a triple combination pumping engine. Their request was rejected on March 23, even though their industries include a number manufacturing bomb assemblies, turret transmissions, mess kits and shells.
Case 8. On April 15, 1942, a southwestern city applied for priority ratings for three ladder trucks and three pumpers. Their request for the three ladder trucks was denied. War plants within the boundaries of the city manufacture such things as parts for bombers, shells, sectional houses, etc. They are not on the list to receive apparatus from the O. C. D.
Case 9. A midwestern city applied on April 22, 1942, for priority for two booster tank trucks fully equipped. Its request was denied despite the fact that within its borders numerous plants were manufacturing vital war materials such as airplane parts, tires, etc.
Case 10. A Great Lakes city applied on April 25. 1942, for a priority for a 750 gallon pumper, only to be turned down. Within its limits are a number of plants doing defense work entirely.
Case 11. A western city applied on April 14. 1942. for priority for a 750-gallon pumping engine necessary to augment three pumpers which are not dependable, because of their age. Its request was rejected. although gauges, gun parts, furnaces, gaskets and other war products are being manufactured by factories within the boundaries of the city.
Case 12. A southern city applied on March 25, 1942, for priority for a 1,000 gallon pumper but was turned down in spite of the fact that within it are located assembly plants for different war equipment, a U. S. arsenal, an army camp and air base, a railroad freight depot and railroad shops.
Case 13. A city located in the midwest applied on April 25, 1942, for priority for a quadruple combination pumper. Its request was rejected. In the city there are about ninety plants engaged in the manufacture of war products such as parts for bombers, trucks, marine pumps, tools, chemicals, parachutes, thermometers for ships, boxes for bomber engines, etc.
Case 14. A New England city submitted three requests for priority for a 500-gallon pump. Its request was turned down twice and the case is now pending. Located in the city are numerous plants manufacturing grinding wheels, tools, heavy machines, leather, fabrics, cutting wheels, wood for Navy use, etc. This city is not on the list to receive any apparatus from the Office of Civilian Defense.
Case 15. Another New England city applied in January for priority for a 500-gallon pumping engine, but was turned down despite the fact that there are a number of companies manufacturing portable generators, internal combustion engines, iron and aluminum castings, generator armatures, bomb casing, felt, etc., for war use.
Case 16. A southern city manufacturing various kinds of war materials, including shells, applied for a priority rating for a 750-gallon pumper on May 1, 1942, but was refused the rating. It has been promised delivery of O. C. D. apparatus only after the east and west coastal cities have been supplied.
Case 17. A New England city having a large shipyard with contracts amounting to millions of dollars and employing more than 27,000 men was refused priority for two 1,000-gallon pumping engines and a sixty-five foot aerial ladder. In addition there are in the city two other smaller shipyards, a naval air base and about fifty other factories of all sizes engaged directly or indirectly in defense industries.
Navy Supplies Need Protection
Case 18. An eastern city with defense factories manufacturing wire and cable for the Navy, chemicals, airplane radio parts and pavement blocks for use at military camps applied on April 7, 1942, for priority rating on a 750-gallon pumper. This was denied.
Case 19. Another eastern city applied on April 15, 1942, for priority for a 500-gallon pump. It was denied despite the fact that within the city are a number of defense industries manufacturing aviation gas, material for shells, etc. The city is scheduled to receive two front-mounted pumps, but has nothing to install them on.
Case 20. A New England town applied on April 23 for priority for an 85-foot aerial ladder truck. Its request was turned down despite the fact that there are a number of plants manufacturing wool, leather, tent cloth, machinery, railroad sup plies, motors for the Navy, etc.
Case 21. A city in the South applied on April 22. 1942, for priority rating on a ladder truck and a triple combination pumper. It was given an A-10 rating on the pumper and was denied one on the ladder truck. In this city are a shell loading plant, an army depot and various manufacturing plants making articles for the War Department.
Case 22. A New England city applied on March 11, 1942 for priority for a junior aerial ladder truck and three 750-gallon pumping engines. This request was denied on March 21, 1942, even though the city has a number of defense industries manufacturing such war materials as parachutes, explosives, army fabrics, navy cloth, leather goods, etc. One of the munitions plants has recently secured two local plants for a factory. They are to build additional buildings of wooden construction without sprinkler protection and some of the buildings will be two miles from the nearest fire station.
War Industries Unimportant?
Case 23. An eastern city applied on April 13, 1942, for priority for a 750-gallon pumping engine and for a quadruple combination truck. The request was denied although plants manufacturing vital war materials such as pumps, boilers, condensers, incendiary bombs, chemicals, etc., are located within the borders of the. city.
Case 24. A midwest city made an application for a priority rating for an aerial truck on April 30, 1942, and was denied it, even in view of the fact that the city is located in the center of a vast industrial area of about fifteen square miles where practically every shop is engaged in war production of some sort. The city is located but four minutes from one of the government’s largest arsenals and about five minutes from a tank arsenal.
Case 24. A southwestern city applied on May 10, 1942. for three pumpers and an aerial ladder truck. This request was denied despite the fact that there is a powder plant, an air school, an army camp and a government airport located within the city.
Case 25. An eastern city in which are located a Navy supply base, a shipyard manufacturing P. T. boats for the Navy, an Army supply base, a number of oil companies and two electrical companies, made an application for priorities for two 1,000-gallon pumpers and a 100-foot aerial ladder truck. This request was denied.
Shells and Planes
Case 26. A city located in the southwestern section of the country applied on May 15, 1942, for priority for a 750-gallon pumper. This request was denied in spite of the fact that a number of plants manufacturing war planes, shells, shell cases, uniforms, tents, plane props, etc., are located in the city.
Case 27. A New England city applied on March 14, 1942 for priority for a 500 gallon triple combination pumper to replace an obsolete machine. In this city are a number of plants manufacturing such vital materials as mine sweepers and PT boats, assault wire, boots and shoes, cloth, etc. The request was denied.
Case 28. A southwestern city applied on April 5, 1942, for priority for five 750-gallon pumping engines, two sixty-five foot city service aerial trucks and two 100-foot aerial trucks. This request was denied. Plants in this city manufacture many defense materials. There are also a number of large oil refineries within the city limits.
Case 29. A city in the South having defense plants manufacturing medical supplies, uniform material and tent cloth, applied in February, 1942, for priority for a 750-gallon pumping engine equipped with hose, nozzles and fire department tools. This request was denied.
Case 30. An eastern city applied on April 9, 1942, for priority number for a 750-gallon quadruple pumping unit. This request was denied despite the fact that in the city are plants making diesel engines for the Navy. and airplane parts.
Case 31. A New England city applied on January 24, 1942. for a rating on a 750-gallon triple combination pumper. This request was rejected in spite of the fact that there are a numlter of defense industries manufacturing vital war products.
War Chemicals and Gasoline
Case 32. A city in the South applied on April 18, 1942. for priority number for a 100-foot aerial ladder truck, a 1,250-gallon pumping engine. two 1,000-gallon engines and two 750-gallon engines. This was denied although the city has numerous plants manufacturing such hazardous war supplies as aviation gas, chlorine and caustic soda, sulphuric acid and synthetic rubber. Also in this city is located a plant manufacturing aluminum.
Case 33. A midwestern city applied for a priority number for three portable pumps on April 10, 1942, and for a 200-gallon steel tank on April 30. They asked for an A-1-J rating on the portable pumpers and received an A-10, with which they were unable to purchase the pumpers. They were refused any rating on the steel tank. In this city are two ordnance plants engaged in the manufacture of acids, TNT and other high explosives.
Case 34. A northern New tingland city engaged in the manufacture of bedding, blankets, uniform cloth, overcoating for the Army and Navy and plastics for Governmental use tried to get a rating on June 10, 1942, for a 750-gallon triple combination pumper. The request was turned down.
Case 35. A southwestern city applied on April 10 for priority rating for a truck and some hose. This request has been turned down, although the city has defense plants manufacturing tank engines and bomber parts.
Case 36. A southern city applied on May 2, 1942, for priorities on two 750-gallon pumpers and two 65-foot service aerials. This request has been turned down although plants of the city manufacture such vital products as shells, anti-submarine detecting devices, clothing for the armed forces, cloth for the government and equipment for airplanes.
Case 37. An eastern city in which are located industries making chemicals, steel, electrical switches, cups and plates for the armed forces, etc., applied in May for either a 500-gallon or a 750-gallon combination pumping unit. This request was denied.
Case 38. An eastern city applied in April. 1942, for a rating for a triple combination pumper needed to replace a seventeen-year-old pumper. There is a defense plant within the city limits making parts for airplanes, and in addition, it is part of a mutual aid system and must respond to fires in a nearby community in which are a number of huge gas and oil storage tanks which supply a nearby air base. The request was denied.
Case 39. On April 2, 1942, another eastern city applied for priority for a chassis for an emergencytruck. The application was turned down in spite of local defense industries manufacturing marine engines, gun barrels for anti-aircraft guns and tank parts.
Case 40. A New England city applied on April 22, 1942, for a priority rating for a 1,000-gallon pumper. This was refused by the War Production Board on May 2, 1942. In this city are industries making machine tools and dies, oil products, etc., for war use.
Woolen Mills and Storage
Case 41. Another New England city manufacturing woolen goods for the Army and Navy applied on April 15, 1942, for priority on a 750-gallon pumper and an aerial ladder truck. This request was denied. In addition to the woolen mills, there is also a number of woolen storehouses in the city.
Case 42. A Midwestern city applied on May 1, 1942, for two 1,000gallon pumpers and received a priority number for one. In this city are plants manufacturing guns, ammunition and other essential war equipment. The city’s airport is being used as a testing field for larp-e bombers.
Case 43. An eastern city applied on April 23, 1942, for a priority rating for two. 750-gallon pumpers. Priority for only one was received, yet this city has numerous factories making such products as bombs, shells, tool steel, steel for temporary landing fields, etc.
Case 44. Another eastern city applied on May 20, 1942, for an A-2 rating to purchase a trailer pump. An A-10 rating was received, but it is impossible to purchase any apparatus with such a rating. In this city are plants manufacturing shells and their contents.
Case 45. A Western city applied on January 10, 1942. for priority on a pumping engine. This was refused, although a gun relining plant and a U. S. Army air base are located within the city limits.
Case 46. A midwestem city applied on March 10, 1642, for priority on a quadruple combination pumper. An A-10 rating has been granted, but it is too low to secure the needed apparatus. In this city are factories manufacturing diesel engines, food products and numerous other articles needed for the war.
Case 47. A New England city applied on April 25, 1942, for two 750-gallon pumpers, one 1.250 gallon pumper, and one 100-foot aerial ladder. They were only able to secure priority for one 750-gallon pumper. In this city are plants making woolen goods, machine parts, shell containers, etc.
Other Equipment Refused
The preceding represent but a small part of the reports which have been made to the International Association of Fire Chiefs upon failure to get needed fire apparatus.
It should be pointed out that no city ever appropriates money for fire apparatus unless it is badly needed. And yet federal bureaus deny fire departments needed equipment, despite the fact that fire hazards today are far more serious to the welfare of the Nation than in normal times. No consideration is being given to the possibility of production interruption by fire, which is a major factor today in the war efforts.
Not only are fire departments denied needed motor apparatus, but they are also denied other equipment for which no substitute is being offered by the Office of Civilian Defense. Specifically, many cities have been unable to secure fire hydrants, badly needed to protect new or growdng industries. Others are unable to secure sorely needed fire alarm equipment.
Here again the bureaus at Washington do not realize that no firedepartment is efficient unless it can promptly call fire apparatus to fires. The first few minutes after a fire is discovered are the most vital. Unless the department is promptly called, a small fire may develop into a conflagration.
Alarm Systems Unessential?
A few specific cases of cities having defense industries which have been refused vital equipment, in addition to the motor apparatus, are given below:
Case 1. A southern city in which is located a bomber plant, a depot, a fort and numerous manufacturing plants making steel, cotton and other war products, ordered cable and other supplies for the fire alarm system. The War Production Board refused priority on these supplies and the orders had to be cancelled.
Case 2. A western city was unable to get fire alarm boxes without an A-2 rating. They made two attempts to get this, but finally had to give up.
Case 3. A midwestem city has had two fire alarm boxes on order for nine months under an A-10 rating. The fire alarm boxes have still not been delivered. In this city is an iron ore mining industry.
Case 4. An eastern city in which are located numerous plants making airplanes, chemicals, beds and many other vital war needs applied in December, 1941, for fire alarm boxes to replace damaged ones. It was impossible to secure priority for the boxes.
Case 5. A northern New England city which must protect a number of shipyards, drydocks, a steel company filling Navy and maritime needs, a pipe line terminal and two military reservations with some 160 buildings, has tried to replace fire alarm equipment burned out by high tension in December, 1941. Central station radio equipment also burned at that time and it has been impossible to replace it.
Case 6. A Pacific Coast city applied on January 6, 1942, for a compressed air horn, a compressor, transmitter, character wheels and alarm room equipment. Their application was turned down on February 23, 1642.
Case 7. An eastern city in which are located a number of oil refineries; an ordnance plant; iron works plants making parts for tanks, machine guns, gun mounts, naval guns, anti-tank guns. etc.; and a large pump station of crude oil pipe lines was recently refused priority rating for take-up reel to complete installation of new fire alarm register system at fire headquarters.
Case 8. A midwestem city in which is located a radio school operated by the Government and a number of vital defense industries has been refused prioritv for 2,500 feet of six pair cable and 3,250 feet ot two pair cable for the fire alarm system.
Case 9. An eastern city manufacturing war products such as guns, oils and lubricants, copper, etc., has been turned down by the War Production Board for fire alarm boxes, six-circuit fire alarm board and an auxiliary gas electric generator.
Case 10. A central city in which are plants manufacturing “sub chasers.” chemicals, airplane parts, machine gun parts, tractor parts, transformers. truck parts, parts for ships, etc., was turned down by the WPB for fire alarm boxes.
Case 11. An eastern city has been refused a priority rating for 25,000 feet of badly needed copper wire for its fire alarm system. The city is without any wire. Plants in this city manufacture die machines, submarine detectors, cloth for the Army and Navy and cement.
Case 12. In addition to its plants making submarines, mine-sweepers, sub chasers, shells and fittings, a number of Navy warehouses, this midwest city must furnish protection to 400 defense homes on eighty acres. All wiring for the fire alarm system has been installed, but to date boxes have been denied. There are about 2,000 people in this defense project and very few of them have telephones.
Case 13. A southern city with a number of plants manufacturing cloth, gun bases, boom-carriers, mattresses, metal articles, etc., has been turned down on wire for installing fire alarm boxes in defense plants.
Case 14. An eastern city manufacturing such defense materials as shells, sheet steel, rubber products, glass, oil products, applied on March 2, 1942, for four fire hydrants and on March 13 for hydrant packing. In order to purchase this material, the city must have an A-1-J rating which it is unable to receive.
Fire Hydrants, Too, Unessential?
Case 15. A midwestern city with about fifty plants making such war products as machine tool parts, ammunition parts, airplane fuel pumps, airbrakes, springs, etc., has been turned down on fire hydrants. These are for the protection of defense plants and defense homes.
Case 16. Another city in the Midwest has been refused priority on fire hydrants, although there are a number of plants making such vital materials as ships, tanks, shovels and other products. In addition they must protect a defense housing project.
Case 17. A New England city in which rubber boats, airplane cables, life boats, castings for the Army and Navy and numerous other materials are manufactured, has been refused priority on hydrants which is one of the great needs of the city, as it is impossible to get hose and short lines must be used.
Case 18. A southwestern city in which are shipyards building mine sweepers and merchant cargo vessels, refineries making gasoline, and oil, various machine shops working on defense work, many mills fabricating wooden material for boats, rice mills, defense housing projects, etc., has been unable to get expansion rings for hose or couplings for replacement without an A-1-K prioritv and cannot get anything better than an A-10, which is useless.
Case 19. A midwestern city applied on May 20, 1942, for 1,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose. This request was denied, although there are plants making tools, dies, etc.
Case 20. Another midwestern city attempted on May 12, 1942, to procure a priority number that would release fire hose, but have been unable to get it. In this city are manufactured tools and gauges for war work.
Case 25. An attempt on the part of an eastern city to obtain 1,180 sets of coupling has been of no avail. In this city are numerous plants making motors, airplanes, as well as the Signal Corp of the Army, the U. S. Marine Quartermasters depot, the U. S. Army Quartermasters Depot and various oil refineries.
Case 21. A southern city in which a Government airport is nearing completion and which also has a number of fruit canning and fruit juice plants has had on order since January 26, 1942, one standard length of fiveinch hard suction hose. This hose was ordered to replace a broken length and not as an extra. Not having an extra length on hand when the break occurred, the department is left with only one length of suction hose on a 1.000-gallon pumper. As there are a hundred lakes in the territory covered by the city, there is a lot of property which requires the drafting of water to protect it against fire. In most cases it requires two lengths of suction hose to do so.
Case 22. A New England town has tried to get 2 1/2-inch hose. The fire chief has applied twice for priority for the hose but has been turned down. This hose is to replace hose lost throughout the year. In this town are a number of defense plants making lighting equipment for aircraft and tank factories, electric fittings for battleships, searchlight equipment, etc. In addition there is a Navy yard, a number of arsenals and a munition plant located within the limits of the town.
Case 23. A southern city in which is located a twin-engine flying school, one of the largest of its kind in the country, has applied for a priority rating for cellar nozzles, expansion rings and 900 feet of hose. This rating has been refused.
Case 24. A midwestern city whose defense plants make such vital materials as shell lathes, marine engine bases, shell casings, telegraph instruments, small motors, submarine rudders, etc., has not been able to secure brass hose expansion rings.
Sabotage, Though Unintentional
Yes, the fire service today is being sabotaged unintentionally by federal bureaus. Instead of increasing the strength of the fire departments to meet the increased demands for fire protection and the growing hazards, fire departments are being denied apparatus needed to replace machines, some of which are twenty years of age or older.
There can be but one solution to the problem: priority restrictions on fire apparatus and equipment must be eased. The fire service will do its duty and carry on to the best of its ability and its equipment. But, if through failure of the Government to permit fire departments to keep their equipment up to strength, large fires occur in vital defense industries, the blame must rest not with the fire service but with the federal bureaus who are crippling the fire service by denying needed improvements.