by Jennifer Parsons
Editor in Chief
Response to last Friday night’s fire in Davenport Dining Hall was “excellent,” said John Lentz, director of campus safety and transportation.
“I don’t think we could have done any better,” Lentz said.
Members of campus safety, along with resident assistants and program assistants, are trained to deal with emergency situations, including how to use a fire extinguisher.
Tom Erickson, campus safety agent, was notified of the fire and contacted the fire department and Lentz. Erickson realized the fire was much to large to be put out with an extinguisher.
Once Lentz received information of the fire, he called President Stephen Morgan, Dr. Loretta Rahmani, dean of student affairs; Brian Worley, director of facilities management; Armen Ananian, food service director; Deborah Mandabach, public relations director; and Julie Thurman-Francisco, director of housing and residential life.
Fire Investigator Ron Sillo concluded that the fire began because of a cardboard box leaning against the wall heater that took only minutes to ignite.
Davenport Dining Hall is considered to be an “awake” building; therefore smoke detectors designed to alarm sleepers of a fire are unnecessary.
Regarding safety precautions, Lentz said, “There will no longer be a wall heater in the office.”
“The key is not the matter of eliminating heaters. Fire safety or any safety is just an on going thing. It takes everybody’s concern — including students — on a daily level to minimize fires. Fire safety training is a matter of doing the best you can,” said Sillo.
Dr. Morgan said in a memorandum to the University community, “I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to our emergency response teams for their timely and professional responses.
“The incident on Friday night reminded us how unexpectedly and quickly disaster can strike and how important it is to rehearse and prepare for emergencies on our campus.”