detached from their companies (with the exception of major alarm fires) and are assigned to inspection work. The chief inspector, working under the direction of the Fire Marshal, heads this department and inspects theaters, hospitals, institutions, and oil burning installations. For administration purposes the city is divided into eleven districts with an inspector assigned to each. He makes regular inspections and keeps a close check on fire hazards in all industrial sections of his territory. Another inspector, assigned to the schools of the city, public, private and parochial, conducts fire drills, gives fire prevention talks and sees that safety is maintained and fire ordinances are enforced. The inspectors are empowered to enforce the fire code in all instances. Property holders, occupants or agents are notified to abate existing fire hazards. After a reasonable lapse of time a follow-up inspection is made to determine whether or not the notice met with compliance. If the notice is consistently ignored an arrest is made under the ordinance covering the violation. This latter, in the majority of cases, is unnecessary. In 1937, 44,593 inspections resulted in the elimination of 34,766 hazards.
Work of the Prevention Bureau
Reports of all such notices are filed daily at the Fire Prevention Bureau. The inspectors meet daily from 8 to 9 to receive instructions, to make out reports and to study and discuss features of the work which arise from time to time. In addition to their regular daily rounds inspectors are detailed to attend large public assemblies to enforce ordinances pertaining to such gatherings.
After each Portland fire, the arson squad of the Fire Prevention Division determines the cause, the amount of loss, the value of property involved, the names of interested persons, and the amount of insurance. This staff, consisting of a chief inspector and two assistants also working under the direction of Fire Marshal Roberts, is ever on the alert for evidences of arson. When a fire appears to be of incendiary origin, photographs are taken, evidences sealed, labeled, dated and preserved for grand jury investigation. In several cases, where it has been impossible to bring sufficient proof of arson to assure conviction of the suspect in court, the insurance companies have been convinced enough
by the results of the investigation to refuse to pay the loss.
The Fire Prevention Bureau maintains a complete file of records
. All fires entailing
losses, since 1913, are recorded by a card filing system, giving names of all parties involved, cause of fire, whom or what was responsible, amount of loss, value involved, the amount of insurance, and with whom the property was insured. A cross index by streets and by names of property owners makes these records readily available at all times. Records of installation permits and inspections of appliances which might develop into fire hazards are also kept. On April 23, 1936, a new ordinance was drafted covering the installation of oil burners. Within two years over seven thousand permits have been issued and inspections made of appliances coming under this ordinance (1, 68 & 69).
Fire prevention is dependent upon the cooperation of the entire citizenry of Portland. Public spirit and law enforcement are powerful weapons in preventing fire. Pertinent ordinances enacted from time to time have greatly assisted the Fire Marshal in the