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Ever .since the Riordan factory
fire; The Day Book has been try
ing to; hnd out how-it came that-a
human being.was burned to. death
through a reckless "and criminal
disregard of the state safety jaws.
Not much help came from the
"'servants of the people" in this.
On -every hand,-1 officials -denied
knowledge of the circumstances,
pleaded, their ignorance, ofythe
law;evaded questions and dodged
' An inquest was held over the
body of Anna Imroth, fmrned to
death in thex Riordanvfire behind
a door the construction of which
did not comply with the law.
On the demand ,of The Day
Bodk, a representative of the
state factory inspector's office
was called to that 'inquest. On
the witness standhe swore that
his department "was not much in
terested in the case.','
Nevertheless, the coroner's
jury brought in a verdict laying
emphasis on the breaking of .the
fire laws, in the Riordan factory,
and expressing the hope that the
officials whose duty it was would
see that other' such tragedies
were prevented in Chicago in the
future. " -
Davies at this time was out of
the city,- The Day Book went to.
his .deputy, Barney Cohen, and
asked him what he was going'to
do about the coroner's verdict in
the Imroth case.
Cohen replied that he had not
seen the veriQt;:hadinot,heard of
it, and knew nothing about the
case. He, ,was. asked if his repre
sentative at the inquest did not.
epresntative had reported, put
-had not mentioned the verdict of
the jury in his report v
alljrcan say this much. Tbfire
prevention laws of Illinois, so far
as factories are concerned, are' a
joke." - -
Davies returned to the city this
week. The Day Book went-to
him and asked him to confirm or
deny his subordinate's statement.
."It is true," said Davies. "We
know fKe fire hazards in this state
are terrible. We know that i" is
not at all improbable that the Tri
angle shirtwaist fire horror will
be repeated in Chicago. But we
refuse to accept responsibility:
"It will require a holocaust,
something shameful and terrific,
somethings as bad as the Triangle
disaster, to arouse the people of
Illinois to a realization -of - what
a mockery our enforcement . of
factory laws is." . ,
"Is it not a, fact," Davies was
asked, "that the factory laws of
Illinois are excellent?"
"It is," he said.. "We have the
best health, sdfety .and comfort
laws of anyfstat'e in the union."
"Is it hot also a fact, Mr- Dav-
ies, that .your department is
charged with the enforcement of
these, laws?" . y? . . ,
"It is," he said, "But -it is ab
surd to expect a, force of . 30 in
spectors to. .enforce these laws in
354 towns, in 300,000 factories,,
besides 70,000 otherwise classified
places of employment. . "
"We, who are on the inside,
know these things. We, who are '