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who finally revealed the fire department’s strategy. One insurance agent visiting the office of another agent heard the name mentioned.

“Charles Dobler, are you writing a policy for him?” “Sure,” answered the other agent. “Well, I wrote one for his wife a week ago!”

A rapid check revealed that these two as well as about thirty-five other agents, had been trapped by the fire department’s scheme. Agents made frantic efforts to recall policies, to cancel them, or to stop deliveries. The Fire Prevention Bureau, however, possessed some sixty-five policies. After a conference with State Insurance Commissioner Harvey Wells, the Bureau agreed to return the policies to the agents with a rebuke, a warning to change their business methods, and a suggestion that thereafter they cooperate to the fullest extent with the Fire Marshal (3, 14, 35, 36 & 37).

The Fire Prevention Bureau’s intensive campaign against fire for nine months in 1915 showed a remarkable improvement over the 1914 record:

  • Total fire loss, 1914

  • Total fire loss, 1915

$1,762,493.46 $1,289,372.76 (1)

During 1914 there were eight days, each without a single alarm. In 1915 there were 36 days with no alarms (a2).

Following are the direct results of the 1915 anti-false alarm campaign as compared with

the 1914 record.

  • January to June,

  • July to December,

  • January to June,

  • July to December,


75 false alarms


98 false alarms


15 false alarms


6 false alarms

The number of fire alarms for 1915 totaled 1,053 which was appreciable lower than the 1914 record of 1,930 alarms. There was also a reduction of 33% in the number of fires entailing losses.

Perhaps the most striking example of combined public spirit, enthusiasm, and cooperation which Portland has ever experienced was displayed in the “Clean-up and Paint-up” drive May 1 to 15, 1916. The Civic Bureau of the Chamber of Commerce, originators of the plan, were joined by civic and neighborhood groups, Mayor Albee, the fire bureau, the city street cleaning department, and practically every man, woman, and child, in a mass effort to clean up the city. Early in April details of organization were carefully outlined so that when the actual clean-up days arrived the campaign was carried thru successfully (3, 38, 39 & 40).


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