When a fire starts, it spreads to anything and everything. It doesn’t distinguish between books, clothes or furniture. Fire devours everything in its path until all that’s left is destruction.
That is what Saturday’s York Hill Puts Out event, sponsored by the Student Government Association’s Junior Class Cabinet, demonstrated when it lit a fake dorm room on fire in the Westview parking lot.
Fire destroyed the room in just five minutes.
“We felt as though it is important to have an event that focuses on fire safety because of the amount of fires that have increased in college residence halls recently across the country,” junior class representative Heidi Hitchen said. “Fire is always a very real threat when you have students who may not be the best chefs with access to a kitchen, so our cabinet wanted to inform the student body of that fact.”
An estimated 3,800 fires occur annually in residence halls across the U.S., according to a 2010 report by the U.S. Fire Administration. Eighty-three percent of those fires result from a cooking incident.
“The Junior class cabinet wanted to host a fire safety event after the amount of fire alarms that went off first semester,” Hitchen said. “We’ve heard that the fire alarms going off were results of misuse of the kitchen units in the Crescent, so in the case of a more serious reason for the fire alarms going off, we wanted to be sure students would know how to react in the case of an emergency.”
The demonstration also served to illustrate how certain items prohibited by the university can lead to starting a fire.
In the student handbook, Quinnipiac prohibits any items that could start a fire, such as candles, incense, grills, hot plates and string lights.
“There’s rules in the buildings for a reason, but people just kind of disregard them, like put up lights, put candles out, because they don’t think anything will happen,” junior Anna McAvinchey said. “But it can happen, and this demonstration was a really good example of that if you disregard these rules, this will happen.”
Along with the fire demonstration, the junior class provided residents with the opportunity to explore the fire trucks and learn how to use a fire extinguisher. Students could enjoy free food, music and raffles.
“I think the demonstration for this event was amazing,” junior Ryan Scanlon said. “It’s so important for the student body to know and be aware of what can happen if you don’t take proper precautions and live a healthy lifestyle.”