FIRE RISKS IN ENGLISH COLLEGES.
A letter in the London Standard directs attention to a new peril from fire in the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, which is not altogether imaginary. The writer refers to the fact that, within a brief period, there has been an installation of the electric lights within many of these venerable buildings, and that in many instances the whole wire apparatus is concealed behind venerable paneling, inflammable as so much tinder. A very slight accident such as the fusion of a wire might easily lead to a most deplorable catastrophe, as the precautions against fire in most of the colleges are of a very primitive description. As a matterof fact, all the buildings are practically lined with matchwood. 1 he staircases once ignited, would vanish in a breath, and anybody caught in the upper stories would have but a poor chance for escape. That the danger is not altogether fanciful is proved by the fact that within the last few weeks defective electrical insulation has led to the destruction of several of the finest old mansions in England. Fortunately, defective insulation is something that can he guarded against, and rendered perfectly innocuous, and it is almost inconceivable that the university authorities would expose their priceless buildings to any avoidable risk.
Several Connecticut cities and towns are improving their waterworks systems, in order to have more efficient service in case of fire. There is now being installed at New Haven a 10.000,000gallon pumping engine, with a thirty-inch stroke, two high-pressure and two low-pressure cylinders. At Hast Hartford an increased water supply is being provided for by the enlargement of the reservoir at Glastonbury, and the Westport fire district is asking leave from the State legislature to purchase the plant of the Westport Water company, that the city water supply may be increased sufficiently to cope with any fire likely to occur.