AN ACT for the better security of life and limb in cases of fire.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware, in General Assembly met:

SECTION 1. That the owner or owners of any building now erected or hereafter to be erected, and being more than two-stories in height and which shall be used in the third or any story, in whole or in part as a college, seminary, school-house, hotel, hospital, asylum, almshouse, factory or workshop, or as a tenement-house, or when rooms are let to families or lodgers, or for the accommodation of organized associations of any description, shall be required to furnish such building with sufficient permanent fire-escapes from the third and all higher stories, and which escapes shall be kept and maintained in good order. Such fire escapes may be by means of stairways or ladders outside the building, or by stairways in a separate tower or structure furnished with safe and easy communication with such building. Provided, that this act shall not apply to any building whatever that is already supplied with two or more independent stairways leading from the highest story to the ground floor, if said stairways shall not be nearer to each other at any point than a distance of sixty feet.

SECTION 2. That it shall be the duty of the chief engineer of the fire department in any city, town or borough where there may be such officers, or if there be no such officer therein, then of the Mayor or chief officer thereof, and in all other places of the clerk of the school district wherein any such building is located to examine such fire escapes as to their suitableness and sufficiency, whether as to quality, location or number. If upon such examination such escapes be found to be sufficient and suitable, the person examining shall give the owner of such building or some one of them, if more than one, a certificate stating such examination and his approval, which certificate shall be good for two years, at the expiration of which time another examination shall be had and a like certificate given. Such certificate of approval shall be evidence of sufficient compliance with the requirements of this act and shall protect such owner from any penalty herein prescribed during the time for which it may have been given. The fee for such examination shall be one dollar.

SECTION 3. That all public school-houses, theaters, rooms, churches and public halls where large numbers of people assemble, if more than one story in height, now erected or hereafter to be erected, shall be furnished with doors opening outwardly and hung in such manner as to afford the most convenient and ready means of safe and speedy egress ; Provided, that any building having doors of egress that open outwardly as provided in this act may also have outer doors on the front that do not so open, if said outer doors are habitually kept open during the services or performances.

SECTION 4. That every owner of any such building as is specified in this act, whether an individual or a body corporate, who shall fail to comply with the provisions thereof shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and be liable to indictment, and upon conviction shall forfeit and pay to the State a fine not penalty, exceeding two hundred dollars, and in case of a corporation, payment of the fine may be enforced by a writ of fieri facias tO be issued out Of the court where such conviction was had the judgment thereof and continued by venditioni exponas as upon judgments in the Superior Court.

Passed at Dover, April 1, 1881.