LET THEATERS FURNISH THEIR OWN FIREMEN
The fire department of a city is created for the specific purpose of extinguishing fires, and no secondary duty such as fire inspection and spending time at theaters as emergency aids should be allowed to interfere with their regular duty. As a body corporate a city has no official interest in fire insurance, even though foreign insurance companies are assessed 2 per cent, on business written in the city, for the firemen’s benefit. Furthermore, why should a city pay men to enforce fire ordinances at theaters and protect lives in cases of fire any more than at schools and churches and other public places where large numbers of people assemble? Every fireman that is detailed to perform such duty weakens the fire department exactly that much in case a fire breaks out elsewhere and his services are needed. When a citizen’s house is on fire he wants assistance, and he wants it as quickly as possible, and plenty of it. But if one or more members of the fire department are detailed to each theater in a large city, does not that materially weaken the department in cases of fire elsewhere? We are not arguing that theaters should not have an experienced man on guard during performances, but let the theater management maintain such service at its own expense, in which case the city can afford to furnish more firemen. The same hypothesis applies to the inspection of buildings. A fire insurance policy is a private contract between the insurer and the insured, and the city has no interest in it. The city is merely charged with the enforcement of the laws and ordinances; it is not its duty to protect insurance companies against had risks. If more fire inspectors are required let the city hire men for that specific purpose. I.ot the fireman spend his time, idly if need be. near the fire apparatus, only that he be ready to do his regular duty in case he is called. As a fireman, lie is of little service while rumaging through alleys and backyards in search of fire ordinance violations. Wc predict that cities will soon wake up to the imposition.