SUMMER HOTEL FIRES.
The summer hotel season having set in, the following hints by H. L. Hiscock, the special agent ot the Aetna Insurance company, a Bristol corporation, may be found useful:
Regarding the fire hazards of the summer hotel, the same conditions exist as in a dwellinghouse, only in a more accentuated degree. The elements of danger might be divided into four classes— those occasioned by heating, lighting, cooking and laundering. These, of course, all exist in a family residence; but in a summer hotel, accommodating 150 to 400 guests, this work, including the necessary adjuncts of the business, is carried on to such an extent that it produces a miniature city in a risk of this class, and a combination of hazards such as a laundry, bakery, lighting, heating, and power plant, a printing office, restaurant, a market, a grocery, a cold storage plant, and, in many cases, furniture-repairing, upholstering and carpenter shops. If town or city block contained all these hazards under separate ownerships, it would be classed as an omnibus risk, considered from an insurance standpoint as extra hazardous. All these are usually included in a majority of the hotels, together with the guests’ rooms under the same roof. To eliminate possible dangers from fire, the more serious hazards should be placed in detached buildings and at such a distance from the hold proper, or of such a construction, that the burning would not endanger the main structure. Many owners of recently constructed houses have adopted this plan to a certain extent, and some of the proprietors of the older houses are removing these hazards from the building. As to the origin of hotel fires, so far as ascertained: The larger number of known causes in this class, and costing the companies the largest amount of money is attributable to defective chimneys, which would properly include the overheating of flues. This would suggest the wisdom of establishing a heating and lighting plant in a separate building. The most essential feature in a summer hotel, beside the attractiveness of the house and its surroundings, is the provision against fire thus affording safety to the guests and the property. One of the recently constructed hotels, which is up-to-date in its appointments, has a protective system which might well be imitated by others who-contemplate building, also, to a certain extent by those now operating a first-class hofel. This is a substantial frame building, with first story of stone. Walls are wooden frame covered on the inside with either expanded metal or sacket wall hoard and hard plaster, and, also, on the outside with expanded metal anu Portland cement. All walls are stopped off at floor-levels with brick. Floors are dottuleu board on joists, with joist spaces topped at intervals, expanded metal and plaster finish on under side forming ceiling. Roofs are covered with asphalt roofing, excepting towers, which have metal. Stairways are shut off by swinging doors. Flevator shafts have also expanded metal and plaster with tin covered doors and wire-glass windows. Corridors above the first floor are shut off by heavy plank doors, making six sub-divisions. All partitions are of expanded metal and plaster. The heating, lighting and power plant is in a detached building some distance from the main structure, and not exposing it. The laundry, printing office, and kitchen are located in separate buildings. The building is heated throughout by steam, except the fireplace on the office floor, lighted by electricity. Automatic sprinklers fed from the gravity water supply of the building are installed throughout the halls and corridors aliove the first floor, also all stairways, elevators, and parts of basement kitchen, laundry and help’s quarters. The hotel and all its out-lying buildings are surrounded by a system of underground eight-inch mains, feeding twenty fire hydrants, as well as serving large standpipes erected in the building proper, with valves and hose equipment on each floor and ninety chemical extinguishers well distributed.
The local fire alarm system is connected to a hell and annunciator in the office—two boxes to each floor. I here are, also, a watchman and an electric clock.