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Wednesday Afternoon Session - page 13 / 67





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What those pressures are is perhaps illustrated by this Conference.  A few disastrous fires in this country during the past year, the LaSalle and Winecoff Hotel fires, for example, and a number of others, have prompted the President of the United States to ask some 2,000 distinguished citizens of the country, who are able to help deal with fires, to come to Washington for the better part of a week to think about what might be done.

It was true that the pressures of fire damage did bring victory.  As General Bull has indicated, fire is not only a peacetime but a wartime problem.  The destruction by fire of Hamburg, Germany, in the summer of 1943 by Royal Air Forces very nearly knocked Hitler out of the war at that time.

In his address this morning Mr. Bugbee mentioned that a fire which has been prevented is not spectacular.  I know that it cannot compete as a spectacle with the picture I have of a fire here in Washington just a few years ago.  The fire was in Hahn’s Shoe Store, and the pictures showed it enveloped in smoke.  Four high pressure hose streams from aerial ladders are shown in the pictures; another from a water tower; four or five more from deck guns; and probably many others, that did not show in the pictures, from hand lines inside the buildings.  These plus an array of apparatus, hose lines like spaghetti in the street, 300 firemen at work on a five-alarm fire, produced a real spectacle.

In presenting this report of the Firefighting Services Committee I am making these remarks simply to draw a few lines of perspective.

Nearly all of the current large fires are those involving a single property and, therefore, are not conflagration in the sense of a sweeping fire.  There have been some forest conflagrations and

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