FIRE SAFETY & HISTORIC PRESERVATION by Charlotte Barrett and John Watts, Jr. The James Breed House, a circa 1848 rowhouse located in Norwich, Connecticut. suffered a major fire in early 1985 which severely damaged the interior, including the main stairs (inset). While fire poses a serious threat to all buildings, historic structures undergoing rehabilitation are particularly vulnerable. The wood is dry with age and easily ignited. Tools used in preservation work often create sparks or flames, and flammable debris is a common byproduct. The electrical service may be antiquated and unequipped to handle present-day demands during and after rehabilitation. Protective barriers may be removed for replacement or breached for access to utilities. Rehabilitation may be the most hazardous time in the life of a building. To safeguard against