Wooden Shingle Roofs in New York City
The determined effort to stir the New York City Board of Aldermen to action in passing an ordinance to prohibit wooden shingle roofs within the limits of the municipality is an important move in the right direction. It is a disgrace that New York City, which should set the example to the smaller municipalities throughout the country, and has done so both in the efficiency of its fire-fighting forces and in its measures to prevent conflagration, should be behind many of the smaller cities and towns in this matter of the forbidding of inflammable roof coverings. Many of these have long ago passed laws prohibiting the use of inflammable coverings on new buildings, or the repairing of those already in use and also setting a reasonable limit when all such roofs must be replaced with those of a fire resistant nature.
Fire Chief Kenlon. in his efforts to make New York conflagration proof. Caused a measure of this nature to be introduced into the Board of Aldermen, through the Board of Standards and Appeals, of which he is a member, as far back as 1923, in the form of an amendment to the existing ordinance. The measure was buried in the committee on buildings of the Aldermen, and nothing further has been heard of it. It is now proposed to push this measure to adoption. The National Board of Fire Underwriters are also behind this movement.
It is a crying injustice to the fire department that this measure was not passed at the time of its introduction, besides the loss of an unexampled opportunity to fulfill Chief Kenlon’s ambition to make New York City exempt from the perils of great conflagrations.
During the past year, with the acute housing situation and with the tax exemption provision in force, thousands of dwellings have been erected in the suburbs, and the builders of many of these, with false economy, have installed roofs of wooden shingles, thus adding a hundredfold to the fire hazard. It is, however, not by any means too late, as the prospects are that the building boom will continue for some time to come, and the tendency is largely to the erection of the single or two-family type of dwelling.
The fire department, under its efficient chief and with its splendid organization, should be backed up in every way by the city authorities, but instead of this, the somnolent Aldermen allow an important measure such as this to rest in committee while the task of the firemen in protecting the city is unnecessarily made a hundred times more difficult!
The sooner this measure becomes a law the better for the protection of the city from conflagration and the backing up of the fire department in its efforts to bring this about.
Former Chief of Riverhead. N. Y., for 20 Years, Dead— Frank C. Lane, chief of the Riverhead, N. Y„ fire department for about twenty years, died at his home last month at the age of 57 years. He had been ill for the past ten years. While serving as chief several years ago during the fire which wiped out several stores in the business section of the village he was injured in the head by a falling beam. He had refused to let his men go into a burning building until he had made an inspection to sec if it was safe for them to enter the structure. Chief Lane became indentified with the fire department when he was about 15 years old.