To the Contrary

The beach-house fire

In the words of University of South Carolina President Andrew Sorensen, a sense of "profound sadness" has settled over his campus -- and this state -- as a result of the deaths of seven college students over the weekend in a horrendous fire at a vacation home on a North Carolina beach. That same sense of profound sadness permeated the state four months ago when nine Charleston firefighters died in a raging Sofa Super Store inferno. There is a common thread in those fires as well as one in a Greenville motel three years ago when six people died: The lack of a sprinkler system. ...

But the tragic deaths over the weekend should focus attention on the greater danger of death from fires to people in their homes. At the least, lawmakers in this state and around the country should require the installation of automatic sprinkler systems in all new residential structures. ...

Meanwhile, the relatively small cost of sprinklers and the high risk of residential fires should be cause for homeowners to consider installing the systems on a voluntary basis.

Fire was a tragedy

South Carolina is grieving, the state's heart made heavy by the deaths of seven students in a Sunday morning fire at Ocean Isle Beach. The loss is particularly acute here in Greenville, home to several of the students killed in the fire.

Six of the students who lost their lives were from the University of South Carolina. One, a former J.L. Mann student, went to Clemson. The students were believed to be members of the Delta Delta Delta sorority and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. ...

On Monday, classes took place as scheduled at USC and Clemson. Participating in the routine is deemed good therapy for people whose hearts have been made heavy by an unexpected and senseless event. ...

The families and friends of these seven students can be comforted in part by knowing their grief is shared by a much larger community, and that they are being held closely in many hearts and mentioned in many prayers.

Daufuskie cemetery

For more than two years, relatives of people buried in the old Bloody Point cemetery on Daufuskie Island have watched and worried as erosion eats away at the nearby shoreline, putting grave sites at risk of washing into Mungen Creek.

And for more than two years, Beaufort County officials and representatives of the Daufuskie Island Resort and Breathe Spa, where the cemetery lies, have promised to do something about it.

People are still waiting -- and worrying.

This problem needs to be put at the top of someone's list today. No one should have to watch a family member's grave slip into a creek, nor scavenge the shoreline for their remains.

Cleveland Bryan -- whose brother, uncle, grandmother and possibly his great-grandmother, a former slave, are buried at the site -- sums up the situation this way, "They just need to get it done."

He's right.

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