Safety Ladders.

Safety Ladders.

[From the Chicago Tribcne.]

Since the disastrous fire at Field & Leiter’s retail store, where the efforts of the Fire Department to bring water to bear on the burning building were impeded by their inability to obtain an entrance, public attention has been directed to the stand-pipes and ladders, which have already been placed on many prominent buildings, and by means of which, it is claimed, the difficulty found on that occasion might be obviated in the future. In order to learn the sentiments of some of those most particularly interested in this important subject a Tribune reporter yesterday interviewed Fire-Marshal Benner and a number of leading insurance men.

Marshal Benner was unequivocal in his indorsement of the stand-pipes. If the Field & Leiter building had been fitted with them his men could have reached the top in a few seconds, and nothing more than the roof need have been sacrificed, perhaps only a part of that. The combination ladder and stand-pipe was fitted with brass couplings on each floor, to which a length of hose could be attached while the connection was being made between the engine and the pipe, and the seat of the fire could thus be at once reached. If the fire were in the roof or top story, a length or two of hose could be drawn up by a rope and affixed to the top of the standpipe, thus giving the requisite pressure. Another great advantage was that the stand-pipe was adapted to the contour of the building, while hose, even if it could be carried to the roof, was bent over the cornices and other projections, and was liable to burst at those points. Owing to the great weight of water, it was difficult to throw a stream to the top of some of Chicago’s largest buildings, the water reaching it only in the form of spray. All this trouble was avoided by the use of stand-pipes. As to the ladder, it would no doubt be useful in enabling persons to escape from hotels. The Department has no ladder long enough to reach the top story of the Pacific.

Mr. Alfred Wright, Secretary of the Board of Underwriters, was also asked for his opinion. He believed that stand-pipes outside the building were very useful, and the insurance companies were so well satisfied of this that they granted a rebate of io cents on the $100 when enough of of them were put up. In cases where the stock of goods were very large, this rebate was sufficient to defray the cost of the necessary pipes in one year, while the owners or occupants of the building received the benefit right along. Standpipes inside buildings were of no use whatever. They could not be found when wanted, and the Firemen could not get at them anyhow.

Several gentlemen connected with the Board bore similar testimony to the usefulness of the pipes. Mr. Edward Teal!, as the representative of the non-Board companies, was also interviewed, and said that, so far as the companies with which he was connected were concerned, they were ready to make a rebate from five to ten cents, according to the number of pipes placed in position. The reasons given by these gentlemen were similar to those advanced by the Fire Marshal, and need not be repeated at length.

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