Thoughts from Hanover’s Fire Chief

Amidst swirling controversy and argument about the meaning of tradition, the annual Homecoming bonfire went on as usual. As always, after just a few short weeks on campus, the class of 2021 circled a fire and ran their 21 laps (or at least they claim to have). Upperclassmen urged young 21s looking to make a name for themselves to defy the efforts of the administration and touch the fire. Dartmouth Night and the bonfire were a scene that many students will never forget, and it is a tradition that the Dartmouth community has cherished for years.

Hanover Fire Chief Martin McMillan added his thoughts to the bonfire debate recently, publishing a statement about this year’s successes in managing the bonfire. McMillan was quick to point out that not nearly as many 21s attempted to touch the fire as 20s did last year.

“I have attended the last four bonfires and witnessed approximately 90 students enter the bonfire’s inner circle i.e. “collapse zone,” said McMillan. “There were two students in 2014, seven in 2015, with 2 DSS officers injured, approximately 75 students in 2016, and fewer than 10 students in 2017”.

As many witnessed this year, no matter what safety measures are taken, there will always be a few brave members of the freshmen class who will attempt to touch the fire. Chief McMillan’s seems to be content with this year’s results. However, it remains to be seen whether the changes f this year are here to stay.

  • David Vincelette

    Chief McMillan’s supposed concern for safety is admirable. Unfortunately the Chief has conspired with Hanover officials to refuse to unblock my firelane in Hanover since Nov 9th. That may not seem like a big deal. How could he think that I, my family or others could be harmed by this illegal and immoral little oversight? Because the the driveway was blocked in 2016 and remains blocked to a disabled Veteran in violation of the Constitution, State Law and the Americans With Disabilities Act! I spent my second consecutive Veteran’s imprisoned in a home with no fire lane, no running water, no driveway and no way to make a living! 372 days in an illegal prison so far. In America! Live Free or Die!


      The VA can help:”Giving veterans second chance to die for their country since 1939!”


    The search for “safety”at the price tradition will never end!Even if nobody got within two city blocks of the bonfire, an ember could still fly off it and set somebody’s hairspeayon fire!