The Hazard of the Wood Shingle

The Hazard of the Wood Shingle

Among the causes of the great annual fire loss in this country one stands out as being responsible for a very large number of conflagrations, especially in the smaller towns and cities. It is the wooden shingle roof. It is a wellestablished fact that those communities where the majorities of the roofs are formed of this material are more prone to the quick and extensive spread of fires. This is quite natural. The burning embers of a fire, at first confined to one structure, are carried by the wind over the rest of the town, and alight in many different places. Where the roofs are of wooden shingles, a condition is ripe, especially after a long hot. dry spell, for a new fire to commence. The jagged edges of the shingle, pointing upward, form an easy place for the blazing brand to lodge and the drv wood is soon on fire. This will probably be repeated in every instance where an ember alights on a wooden shingle roof, and the consequence will be that the fire department will be overwhelmed with several fires to fight in different sections of their city at one time. The great fire which destroyed the town of Salem, Mass., is an example of what the wooden shingle can be responsible for. An account of this conflagration tells how it originated in a frame leather shop, in the center of the town, and roofed with wooden shingles, as were most of the other buildings. These blazing pieces of wood were carried by the high wind prevailing at the time to surrounding structures, and many of these, it is said, burst into flames long before the main conflagration reached them. The brands, landing on the roofs, were responsible for this, and in so short a time that it seemed almost incredible, practically the whole city was involved. Many cities and towns are putting the ban of law upon this conflagration breeder, and it will be a great step in advance in fire prevention when this form of roofing is a thing of the past.

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