Chapter 3

While the City Burns

3.1 Background

What began as a flare-up on the kitchen stove quickly spreads to the wooden counter, and smoke fills the room. An alert homeowner calls the emergency fire department number, and within minutes a fire engine company, siren blaring, shrieks to a halt in front of the apartment, and the blaze is shortly under control. Scenes like this are enacted daily in cities and towns all over the country and are familiar enough. But sometimes the consequences are more dire, and there could be considerable loss of life and property. To reduce these losses, if not to eliminate them entirely, is the primary mission of a fire department whose size and operation must be adequate to match the level of service required of ...

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