Fire Destroys Florence University.
The destruction by fire of the Florence University for Women, located about two miles north of Florence, Ala., a short time since, was a disastrous blow to that community. Florence itself is a town of about 7,000 population, and although somewhat of a manufacturing and commercial center for a considerable territory round about, the college was the pride of the community, as it was the leading educational institution in that part of the state. It was an imposing structure, built of brick and stone about twenty years ago. Surmounting the structure was a dome seventy feet high which could be seen for considerable distance in all directions. The college itself occupied an eminence and was surrounded by a broad campus. The flames were discovered about 2 o’clock in the morning by one of the female teachers; they were at that time in the southeast part of the building, and are supposed to have been started by electric wires in some way becoming crossed. An alarm was telephoned to Florence, which was responded to by the village fire department, under the direction of F. H. Howell, who holds the dual position of fire chief and waterworks superintendent. The firemen, however, were helpless, as there were no outside fire plugs, although there was a 16-inch water main running through the street near the university, and a standpipe filled with water. The building also was equipped with hose connections on each floor, but as the fire had about completed its work without interruption, inside of an hour, there was nothing that the firemen could do but to watch the flames die out, the eighty young women attendants having made their escape at the outbreak of the disaster.