In honor of National Fire Prevention Week, recognized Oct 9 through 15, 2016, I’m reprinting, with permission, an essay written by a young friend of mine who wishes to remain anonymous. Our society has benefited greatly from the invention of an automatic sprinkler system. Such a simple concept, when you read about it. I found this a very interesting essay and I wanted to share it with you, and perhaps give you something to think about and be thankful for this week. (ps...any typos are mine as I had to transcribe from hard copy...)
Mrs. O’Leary and her fabled “cow-tastrophe” which resulted in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 would not have become legendary if automatic fire sprinklers had been installed in her barn. But the first practical system would not be invented for another three years.
Two-hundred people who perished when a gas lamp ignited a fire at the Paris Opera in 1897 would not have had their lives cut short had automatic fire sprinklers been installed. But the first system was designed to protect commercial goods stored in warehouses, not to save lives.
Four-hundred and sixty-four Paraguayans would still be alive today had there been sprinklers at the Ycuá Bolaños Botánico Supermarket when a fire swept through there in 2004. But Asunción city code does not require automatic sprinkler systems be installed in new construction.