Oil in Fire Extinguishers
A remarkable discovery was made recently, according to a report published in a daily paper, and warnings against a new scheme for the destruction of property are being sent broadcast throughout the United States. It has been discovered that hand fire extinguishers, which are part of the firefighting equipment of thousands of factories, stores and offices, have been filled with gasoline, so that, instead of extinguishing fire, the liquid feeds the flames.
Major Richard Sylvester, head of the protection department of the du Pont company, was called in recently by an outside concern to assist in the investigation of a mysterious fire in a large manufacturing plant in Wilmington, Del. He soon made the discovery that two of the extinguishers had been tampered with in this manner. The result of this act in the particular instance under investigation was that when a small fire started and a workman attempted to extinguish the flames he found that the use of the extinguisher only increased them. Further investigation brought out the fact that other extinguishers in this plant had been filled with gasoline.
“A fire hazard, that tends only to increase insurance rates and jeopardize life and property in the town,” said Chief Fred Schicr, of the West Hoboken, N. J., fire department, recently, “is the building of private garages in the basements or first floors of buildings. For several years I have tried to have the council pass an ordinance prohibiting this practice, but I have not succeeded. Jersey City has an ironbound ordinance of this type and we should have one, too. I know of one case where a man used his front room as a private garage, and as a result the fire insurance companies canceled all the insurance in the entire block.”