SMOKE was seen rising from the roof of Hollis at about eight minutes before eleven o'clock on Wednesday morning, and the building was soon surrounded by a large crowd. A line was formed from the pump to the upper story, buckets were passed up, and water was thrown into the smoke, but not - as it proved afterwards - upon the fire. The alarm was sounded three minutes before the hour, and Engine I was at the nearest hydrant within two minutes after the clock struck. The hose-carriage was somewhat later in reaching the scene, but at 11.5 a hose was on the ground and carried up the stairs.
No sooner was water forced through the hose than it burst and was taken down. Another hose was then carefully taken up, wrong end foremost, was again taken down, turned around, and finally the engine was successful in getting a stream of water on the fire, - about eleven minutes after the alarm sounded. At the same time a stream outside the building, after thoroughly wetting the lower stories and the bricks of the walls in its futile efforts, succeeded in reaching the roof.
The occupants of the rooms in the lower stories, as the water poured down from above, began to be concerned for the welfare of their household gods. They were assisted in removing their Penates from a watery grave by many willing hands, and in an hour everything was taken from the building, except the furniture in the rooms of the Pi Eta Society, where the fire was raging.
The firemen by half past twelve had command of the fire, and although nothing was left of the northern part of the roof but the rafters, the fire was kept from burning anything but the Pi Eta rooms and the loft above. No student's room was burnt, but the floor of each was covered with water from three to six inches deep. The condition of the building is such that no one will be able to get back to his old quarters for at least several months.
The fire started near the ceiling of the Society rooms, and was caused by some defect in the chimney at the back of the stage, and in the centre of the building. The loft under the sloping roof was filled with old scenery and rubbish, and afforded the fire an excellent opportunity for spreading itself. When the rooms were opened the smoke was so dense that it was impossible to discover the exact location of the flames. The firemen therefore worked somewhat at a disadvantage, and they deserve praise for the pluck they showed as individuals, whatever may be thought of the judgment of those who directed them.