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Fire Countdown Sign Erected on Union

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Some 50 years ago, motorists could keep track of traffic deaths in Memphis thanks to a handy illuminated sign erected at the corner of Poplar and Highland that counted the number of fatalities throughout the year.

It wasn't supposed to be morbid; it was supposed to make people drive more carefully, so they wouldn't end up a number on that sign.

Well, the Fire Museum of Memphis has adopted a similar approach, with a twist. A new digital sign has been erected outside the fire station at 1826 Union to keep track of the days that have passed since the last fire-related fatality in Memphis.

As we went to press, the number was 50 days -- and counting.

The last death in Memphis took place on the early morning of March 7, when a blaze of unknown origin took the life of 68-year-old Barbara Motley at her home on 1611 Ball Road.

Let's hope we don't have to restart the fire sign to zero anytime soon.

by Michael Finger

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