Three Important Omissions
In a fire described by Chief John T. Mertz of Akron, Ohio, three important omissions are pointed out. The first was the construction of the dividing wall in the building involved without the precaution of fire doors provided to cover the openings. The necessity of placing automatic-closing fireproof doors in all dividing walls is emphasized by this fire, as if these had been provided in all probability the uninvolved half of the building would have been saved.
The second omission was the failure to install automatic sprinklers in the building in question. The incipient. blaze starting in the middle of the night in the telephone switch board would in all probability have been drowned out before it had attained enough headway to cause trouble, if one or two sprinkler heads had been suspended over it ready to pour their volume of water down on the flames when the heat from the fire was sufficient to melt the solder of the links.
The third omission that contributed to the heavy loss was the fact that the building lacked a competent watchman. It often happens that in order to economize a business establishment will employ cheap labor as watchmen, and when a fire occurs and the exercise of proper intelligence might save the building from destruction, the incumbent fails through lack of knowledge of what to do or through actual stupidity. A few extra dollars spent in the employment of competent help as watchmen is well worth the outlay and can hardly be compared with the thousands which even a small fire causes to go up in a puff of smoke. The three omissions enumerated by Chief Mertz are both important and alas, only too general.