L to R: Tony Spears, Mhamed Ismaili, Tommy Johnson
Earlier this year I joked that the Legation fire plan consisted of praying to St. Florian, patron saint of fire fighters. In the ensuing year, we have made a little progress towards our goal of surviving a fire, and saving the contents of this historic building.
During our fire drill in January, we discovered that the fire hose in our library – 8,000 volumes, many of them rare editions, in an 18th century medina courtyard building – wasn't even fed by a water supply. We remedied that, and now the water can flow in case of fire.
We still don't have any fire extinguishers worthy of the name: Tony Spears, visiting State Department OBO fire expert, told us that our most recent models are 1992 vintage. Above, with OBO Rabat Facility Manager Tommy Johnson and his associate Mhamed Ismaili, Tony accepts our modest gift to the OBO fire office.
Now OBO Washington has a historic fire extinguisher from America's oldest diplomatic building. We still have some that will be polished and go into our museum – as exhibits.
Soda acid extinguishers, like our venerable ALFCO model at right, date back to the 19th century, though ours is probably only sixty years old or so.
Our hopes are pinned on this new interest in fire protection for our building, and we hope to mark National Fire Prevention Week next year with a picture of brand new extinguishers. So we won't have to celebrate the 20th birthday of our youngest extinguishers.
Then we'll inaugurate a shrine to St. Tony.