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or more minor hospital cases, were the results of this holocaust (49, 58, & 59).

The Glenwood Hotel fire four days later demonstrated the wisdom of safety measures in contrast to the danger of open stairways and elevator shafts. Circumstances were similar to the Elton Court fire. The Glenwood Hotel was a four-story building of seventy-two rooms with sixty-five occupants. Fire started, about four-thirty in the morning, at the bottom of the elevator shaft and the flames quickly shot to the roof before they were controlled. The enclosed elevator shafts, however, confined all damage to the shaft, attic and roof. Although the stairway was next to the elevator shaft everyone leaving the hotel could use it and nobody was in anyway injured by fire (60).

An Awakened Press

Following the Elton Court fire the Portland press, especially the Portland Telegram, began an intensive crusade against the city’s existing fire traps. Reporters accompanied the fire marshals on inspection tours of hotels, apartments and rooming houses. It was found that fifty percent of these buildings were as hazardous as Elton Court if not more so. Nor was the danger confined to the so-called cheaper lodging houses but was present in many of Portland’s finest hotels. Newspapers urged the immediate passage of an ordinance forcing property owners to eliminate this danger (60).

“I want an ordinance drawn up which will make it impossible for such a disaster ever to happen in Portland again,” Mayor George L. Baker told Fire Marshal Grenfell following

the Elton Court fire.

Ordinance 38116, drafted by the Fire Marshal and Building

Inspector Plummer to meet this request, was unanimously passed by the city council on October 2, 1920. This ordinance, providing for the protection against fire in all existing buildings used as “hotels, lodging houses, apartment houses and for similar purposes,” required that “elevator shafts and elevator machinery” be enclosed as demanded by the Building Code ordinance No. 33911 “for new buildings of the same construction.” It also ordered “an enclosure of stair wells” an exception being allowed in three story buildings if “an automatic sprinkler system provided covering all portions of the basement, public corridors and any rooms which have open doorways into public corridors and all portions of the stairs including platforms, returns and all portions of the stair wells or shafts.” Such sprinkler systems were to comply fully with the specifications of the National Board of Fire Underwriters.

Another alternative was offered “to any building so arranged that every apartment and every sleeping room not contained in an apartment in the second story and all stories above directly connected to a standard fire escape shall not be subject to the provisions of this ordinance.” It was further ordered that all “light wells or shafts be enclosed as required in said Building Code” and “all openings into such enclosures shall be protected by metal window frames filled with wire glass or by kalamein or standard fire doors.” The ordinance also required that “any chute for laundry, paper, dumb-waiters and similar openings not enclosed as required for elevators shall be enclosed and have the inside lined with metal lath and plaster or metal” according to the requirements of the Building Code. The Fire Marshal and the Building Inspector were jointly empowered to enforce


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