As president of Baltimore's Board of Fire Commissioners, Owen has seen every kind of fire from accidental to arson, and this is his effort--rather long and insistent--to point out common hazards and fife-saving procedures. Basic advice: alert others and get out. He introduces some telling statistics--smokers are responsible for half of all house fires--and asserts that heat, asphyxiation, and toxic gases cause more deaths than flames. He goes on about related issues such as when to jump (below the fourth floor), when to try extinguishing the fire yourself, when to close doors and open windows, when to eschew water (chemical and electrical fires). And he adamantly opposes children-and-matches, would-be heroes, and non-professional furnace installations. No spark, but sound recommendations.