This is National Fire Prevention Week — a time to look around the house with the idea of keeping the risk of fire to a minimum. It’s also a good time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. Two of the worst fires in U.S. history broke out on this date in 1871. One was the famous fire in Chicago. The second fire that day was much worse, but has faded into history. A dry summer and high winds turned a forest blaze into a firestorm that jumped rivers, destroying the town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and 11 other communities, killing as many as 2,400 people. Across the U.S., there are just over 30,000 fire departments, and every 23 seconds one of them responds to a fire. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sunday, October 7th. One of the few joys left in long-distance flying is to sit back and enjoy a feature-length movie. But recently, one major airline announced it will be ending this entertainment, joining several low-cost airlines in the policy. The first movies shown in the air were a newsreel and two cartoons, shown on this date in 1929 aboard a Ford Trimotor operated by Transcontinental Air Transport. Regular in-flight movie service began in July 1961 on a Trans World Airline flight from New York to Los Angeles. The movie shown was “By Love Possessed.” Now, more than 4 million passengers fly between New York and Los Angeles every year. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <www.census.gov>.
Saturday, October 6th. Today marks the birth date of one of America’s greatest tennis players — Helen Wills Moody. During her professional career, she had a phenomenal 92 percent winning average. In one five-year period, she did not lose even one set in singles competition. She won Wimbledon eight times, the U.S. Open seven times and the French Open four times. For her serious demeanor on court, she was nicknamed “Little Miss Poker Face.” Helen Wills Moody lived to be 92. Players of her caliber helped to make the game popular with the public. Now, across the U.S., nearly 28 million people play tennis each year. You can find current data on the country’s economy — on the go — by downloading the new “America’s Economy” mobile application at <www.census.gov/mobile>.