Thom Vaught has
provided background information to one of the most terrible fires in the
history of the United States:
It was a chilly
Sunday morning on February 7, 1904. The firemen of Engine Co. 15 were
expecting a quiet day as they readied for inspection. Their routine was
interrupted by an automated fire alarm at 10:48 a.m. in the John Hurst
and Company building. These men were answering the first call of the
Great Baltimore Fire of 1904.
Once the Fire Chief
was on the scene, he quickly realized the danger. High winds were
causing the blaze to spread quickly and efforts to douse the fire were
hampered by the freezing temperatures. He called in nearly the entire
Baltimore City Fire Department to fight the fire but even that was not
enough to contain the persistent flames.
A plea for help
went out to areas surrounding Baltimore and the response was astounding.
Firefighters from Washington DC were the first to arrive. Upon arrival
they were dismayed to find out that their fire hose couplings would not
fit the fire hydrants. Baltimore, like most cities of that day, had
their own standard by which fire hydrants and fire-fighting equipment
were manufactured. As firefighters arrived, they tried to adapt to this
different standard but the lowered water pressure and leaks continued to
impact their ability to help. Firefighters from as far away as
Philadelphia and New York City answered the call but each time the story
was the same. The lack of a standard caused confusion and the resulting
efforts were less effective.
The Great Baltimore
Fire raged across the city for two days. Damage caused by the blaze was
so extensive that it is hard to imagine. It destroyed over 1,500
buildings covering nearly 70 city blocks.
In a report
presented to congress, the lack of a uniform standard was cited as a
major contributing factor to the massive destruction. Congress tasked
the fledgling National Bureau of Standards now known as the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to investigate the matter.
They discovered around 600 different sizes for fire equipment in use
throughout the nation. As a result, the organization established a
national standard for fire equipment.*
Vaught makes a great
application for us: “God recognized the need for a standard for US
"Furthermore, our Lord has not confused man with a plethora of
differing standards but gave us a SINGLE ONE. This heavenly
standard is the God-breathed word
of the Bible and it is meant as our ONLY standard for life and worship.…
We have in Scripture everything necessary to understand and
follow God's will.”
(See 2 Timothy 3:16-17.)
In God’s Word, we
have instruction on how to avoid the fire of hell reserved for the devil
and the disobedient (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:45). We are also taught
about the great love of God who gave His Son so that we can be saved
from our sins and receive eternal life through the gift of His Son,
Jesus, Who died on the cross for our sins (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7).
teach us that in order to be saved from our sins we must: place our
and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in
repentance (Acts 17:30-31),
Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized
(immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38;
Don’t be confused
by the different standards that are offered by the world.
Accept THE standard for your life (God’s Word) and apply His truth to
your life and be saved.
David A. Sargent,
Church of Christ at Creekwood
1901 Schillinger Rd. S.
Mobile, Alabama 36695
* Vaught, Thom.
“Heavenly Standards.” Daily Bread: Monday, 9-5-11. An on line
ministry of the Bear Valley church of Christ in Denver, CO. See
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