Photos by Chezell Montgomery
[The mock dorm room, pre-flame – Photos by Jessica Gallichio]
By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (Sept. 29) – A crowd of about 40 people was on hand to witness a mock demonstration of a dorm fire Thursday at 7 p.m. on the lawn of Devereux Hall. With the St. Bonaventure University Safety and Security Services speaking and the Allegany Fire Department presenting the event, the mock dorm fire began.
A 64-square-foot box, made to look like a dorm room, had the basics of a typical dorm room– a microwave, too many electric cords to count, hanging lights and other things considered dangerous to have in a dorm.
“Anything from a lit candle to a microwave sparking can lead to dorm fires,” said Vito Czyz, director of Safety and Security Services. “It is important to be aware of what to have and not to have in a dorm that could be hazardous.”
Bonaventure students’ commented on the importance of what Czyz and Safety and Security Services taught before and after the demonstration.
“Safety in a dorm is the number one thing students should know when living in a room,” said Erik Jones, a senior education major. “Kids need to know not to burn the popcorn.”
Once Czyz finished the guidelines of promoting dorm room safety and possibilities of what could happen in a dorm fire, the Allegany Fire Department ignited a flame in the mock dorm. Kerosene had already been poured into the mock dorm to start the fire quickly, but even then, it didn’t take long for the fire to spread all over.
After a minute and 50 seconds, the fire fully engulfed the dorm room, and in three minutes and 30 seconds, everything in the small room had been burnt.
After the fire had completely spread through the dorm, “the chance of a fire department having a search and rescue is out of the question,” added Czyz.
After the Allegany Fire Department put the fire out with a fire hose, almost everything had been destroyed or completely charred like coal by the fire.
“This is why promoting safety procedures in your dorm room are very important,” added Czyz. “Remember to limit yourself to surge protectors, no microwaves,and no candles as well.”
When students first saw the dorm catch on fire, they gasped in disbelief.
It’s just amazing to see this up front and in person,” said Tim Crino, a junior journalism and mass communication major. “I never thought dorm room fires could be this drastic.”
Even though no dorm fires have occurred at Bonas, it’s still a “serious issue around the world,” said one security official.
Another security official mentioned there are over 15,000 dorm room fire occurrences every year due to negligence and unexpected items catching on fire.
“With that in mind, the safety of dorm rooms should be practiced on a regular basis to prevent a possible occurrence of fires,” said a security official who didn’t want to release his name.
In the end, Czyz commented on what he hoped comes of this event.
“If students learn dorm room safety, it can make a transition with other students as well when they practice safe living habits,” Czyz added.