The recent conflagration at Amherst, following upon the destructive fires at Swarthmore and Westchester, calls renewed attention to the poor provision at Harvard in case of fire. As the Princetonian says, in commenting on some new fire escapes just erected at Princeton, "It has been proved that college buildings can and will burn." That paper further congratulates the occupants of "sky parlors" on the increased security afforded them by the new improvements. We wish we could say the same for Harvard, but the fact is that we are living in singular disregard of any provisions for safety in case of fire. Only one or two of our dormitories possess fire-escapes, while the greater number of them are mere fire-traps, where any sudden violent conflagration late at night would be attended by a lamentable loss of life. The different entries are shut off from each other, and the stairways are mostly built in a spiral style that would furnish a tremendous draft for the flames and cut off escape. The danger is immediate and continual, and the action of the authorities at Princeton in providing fire-escapes is an example we could well wish to see imitated here. At Princeton there was once an outbreak of malarial fever among the students that was distressingly fatal, and it was followed by an entire reorganization of the drainage both at that college and at Harvard. Perhaps, after some disastrous conflagration, involving the sacrifice of valuable lives, our college authorities may be induced to provide us fire-escapes. We commiserate these possible future victims and martyrs to culpable negligence.
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