Letting Down the Bars
A recent item from a local paper announced that the city council of Lynn, Mass., had so amended the fire ordinances as to allow the builders of frame houses outside of the fire limits to put wooden roofs upon their buildings. This is a decidedly retrograde step, and one that no doubt the council of the progressive little New England city will some day very bitterly regret. The sooner the menace of the wooden shingle is recognized, and its use absolutely prohibited, the better it will be for the cause of fire prevention. There is no greater invitation to a general conflagration extant than this method of covering buildings. Every fire, no matter how insignificant, provided there is wind enough to carry a burning ember, becomes a potential catastrophe with the use of the shingle roof. One such ember, lighting upon one of these tinderlike coverings, almost surely means a new fire for the department to cope with, and it will not take long, with the multiplication of these incipient blazes, for the fire to get beyond the control of the fire fighters. It matters not how far apart or scattered the buildings may be, the menace is equally as great, and the spread of the fire just as rapid. Another point is, that what is the suburbs of a city and beyond the fire lines today, tomorrow may jump into a populous district, and it is very much harder to remove or correct a badly constructed building than it is to prevent its erection. Instead of letting down the bars and repealing regulating ordinances already upon the statute books, it would be a wiser policy to draw the lines still tighter in respect to the licensing of these menaces. Fire prevention demands that the wooden shingle must go.