MAKING EFFORT TO PROHIBIT WOODEN SHINGLES IN NEW YORK
Chief Kenlon and New York Board of Fire Underwriters Urge the Board of Aldermen to Forbid Else of This Type of Roofing
IN an effort to arouse the Board of Aldermen of the city of New York to take action on a proposed amendment to the city ordinances with a view to prohibiting the future use of wooden shingles for roofing in the city of New York and replacing within ten years all existing wood shingles the New York Board of Fire Underwriters has fowarded to the board of aldermen a copy of a resolution adopted by the Board of Underwriters in November last and at the same time calling attention to the fact that a great part of the fire loss in this country has been due to the wooden shingle.
The Proposed Amendment
In 1923, following a series of fires originating in wood shingles along the Rockaway Peninsula, which Fire Chief Kenlon regards as “the worst fire hazard on the Atlantic seaboard from the Keys of Florida to Westport, Maine.” The board of standards and appeals of the city of New York of which Chief Kenlon is a member drafted an amendment to the existing city ordinances to prohibit the use of wooden shingles in all future construction.
The resolution, amending the existing ordinance reads as follows:
“Sec. 474. 1. Roofing—Any roofing hereafter placed on any building within the city limits shall be of approved incombustible materials, provided that any existing shingle roof may be repaired at any time to the extent of not more than 15 per cent, of its surface in any year and provided further that all shingle roofs now existing must on or before January, 1935, be replaced with roofing of approved incombustible material.”
The proposed amendment of the ordinance wiped out such former conditions as “within the fire limits” and extended the restrictions to all houses in the corporate boundaries of the city.
Aldermen Bury Amendment in Committee
The Board of Aldermen referred the amendment to its Committee on Buildings where it has remained for a year in spite of the communication which accompanied it from William E. Walsh, chairman of the board of standards and appeals.
In November last the New York Board of Underwriters wrote the following to the Hon. Murray Hulbert, president of the board of aldermen, enclosing a copy of the Underwriters resolution:
“Dear Sir—We beg to enclose copy of a resolution adopted by this board on November 19, 1924. strongly advocating the enactment of legislation prohibiting the installation of wooden shingles for roofing in New York City; also copy of an amendment to section 474 of the Budding Code, drawn by Mr. James J. Hoey of the Committee on Origin of Fires of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters.
“Copies of the resolution and amendment were forwarded to Mr. William E. Walsh, chairman of the Board of Standards and Appeals, and we enclose herewith copy of his letter hearing date of December 17, 1924.
“At the suggestion of Mr. Hoey we are bringing the matter to your attention with the hope that you will give the measure complete and active support and co-operate to the fullest extent to have the ametulmen enac.ed into law at the earliest possible time.
(Continued on page 34)
Trying to Prohibit Wooden Shingles in N. Y.
(Continued from page 19)
“Very truly yours, W.M. B. WHITE, Chief Inspector.
December 17, 1924.
New York Board of Fire Underwriters, 123 William Street, New York, N. Y., WILLIAM B. WHITE, Esq., Survey Department:
“Dear Sir—Acknowledging your communication of December 11th, enclosing copy of the resolution adopted by your board respecting the enactment of such legislation by amendment of the Building Code, prohibiting wooden shingles in the Greater City of New York, please be informed that this board, the Board of Standards and Appeals, adopted a resolution in 1923 recommending to the Board of Aldermen an amendment to the Building Code prohibiting wooden shingles, which, to date, has not been acted on by the Board of Aldermen.
“I have, however, in the meantime communicated with the President of the Board and reminded him of the recommendations of this board respecting the future use of wooden shingles. Very truly yours.
“WILLIAM E. WALSH, Chairman.”
The Underwriters resolution follows:
Whereas, The use of wooden shingles for roofing has been responsible for the wide spread of conflagrations in various cities throughout the United States; and
Whereas, The total fire loss due to conflagrations since 1880 has amounted to upward of $1,500,000,000, a large part of which was caused by the wooden shingle roof hazard; and
Whereas, The extensive building operations in outlying sections of New York City, following closely upon the heels of tax exemption legislation, has resulted in the erection of numerous closely packed rows of buildings with shingle roofs, these sections constituting a serious fire menace in themselves and threatening a tragic general conflagration; therefore be it
Resolved, That the New York Board of Fire Underwriters hereby places itself on record as strongly advocating the enactment of legislation prohibiting the installation of wooden shingles for roofing within the confines of New York City; further, that the New York Board of Fire Underwriters recommends the investment of authority with the appropriate departments of the City Government to enforce such legislation.
Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the chairman of the Board of Standards and Appeals.