I couldn't begin to list all the violators. There would be so many names that everyone from Doonesbury to Gasoline Alley would be pushed right off this page.
Let's just say that you know who you are, D.C. businesses and office buildings. But then again, we the citizens know who you are, too. And we are sick and tired of the way you put our lives in danger, day after day.
Your sin: locking one of a set of double doors leading from your premises to the outside world.
A letter from Ralph S. Mullen of Bethesda prompted me to check into the door-locking issue. As Ralph notes:
"It would seem to me that, if there were a fire, fewer people would be able to vacate through one door than two. Once I asked the manager of a shopping center dry cleaning establishment, 'Supposing there were a fire here with only one of your double doors unlocked?' Her reply was, 'We know which door is not locked.' "
How very wonderful. What if you're lying on the floor, pal, unconscious from smoke inhalation, and we're groping around in the smoke, trying not to join you? Will you be able to impart your knowledge in that case?
City law is crystal-clear on the subject of double doors. According to Kenneth Jackson of the D.C. fire marshal's office, "No door to be used as a fire exit can be locked while the building is occupied. That includes any door designated as an exit in any building."
So consider yourselves warned, violators. Open those doors. If you don't, we might reconsider pushing Doonesbury and Company off the page. And we might just send a clipping to the proper authorities.