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was urged that moss be cleaned off the roofs and an ordinance was passed to insure compliance with this request. Fire Marshal Stevens had warnings against the danger of fire to meet every occasion (25). Because several Portland children were burned to death as the result of playing with matches, he urged the use of safety matches. Deputy fire marshals, when on inspection tours, were instructed to remind each household of this danger (3 & 26).

Civic groups and leaders lent their cooperation to Portland’s new Fire Prevention Bureau and did much towards advancing its program (2 & 3). Mayor Albee and Fire Chief Dowell unstintingly gave support to the Fire Marshal’s plans. The press fell into line publicizing the program. Especially generous in this behalf was B. F. Irvine, editor of the Oregon Daily Journal, June 17, 1915, tells the story.

“Since 6 o’clock Sunday night there has not been a fire or a fire alarm in Portland. This is the longest period since Portland’s fire bureau became a full fledged department that no alarms have been received. It is believed that this establishes a new no-fire record for cities of Portland’s size.

“This means there has not been a fire of any kind reported in Portland in the last ninety hours and the fire equipment has been idle. Up to this time there have been from one to twenty-four alarms a day and as many as 295 in one month.

“It is believed that this record is the result of the Fire Prevention Bureau, headed by Fire Marshal Stevens.”

Anniversary of Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow.

President Wilson set aside the month of October, 1915, to be observed nationally as fire prevention day (27). Appropriately enough this was the anniversary of Chicago’s famous 1871 fire, which burned over an area of three and one third square miles and handed down the fame of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow for generations (5).

Portland’s Fire Prevention Division worked out an intensive program for the week preceding the appointed day. Lectures were sponsored by civic groups. The efficiency of fire drill was tested in department stores and factories. Interest was enlivened by a fire drill contest among the schools, Ockley Green winning in the grade school division when their 700 pupils vacated the building in 57 seconds. Honors among the high schools went to Jefferson, their building being cleared of 1500 students in one minute and seven seconds. (3 & 27).

Fire prevention data was included in the school work and in recitations of every Portland school child above the fourth grade for the week before October ninth (3 & 24). Following is a questionnaire given to each pupil.

  • Has your chimney been cleaned this year?

  • Has your home been inspected by the fire marshal?


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