University to set mock dorm room ablaze to call attention to residence hall fire safety


St. Bonaventure University is doing everything it can to spark students’ interest in fire safety.


Under the watchful eye of Allegany firefighters, university officials will set a mock dorm room ablaze Sept. 15 to show students how quickly a residence hall room can be destroyed. Fire risk increases if students violate residence hall policy by, for example, lighting candles, cigarettes or incense; or using extension cords or space heaters.


University maintenance workers will construct an 8-by-8-by-8-foot shell to replicate a dorm room. It will be open on one side for viewing the fire, and filled with typical dorm room furniture and paraphernalia.


The room will be built on the lawn in front of Devereux Hall and set on fire just after 6 p.m. Allegany firefighters will be on hand to extinguish the fire after it burns the contents of the room. Heavy rains or wind would postpone the demonstration.


“I think people will be stunned to see how fast the contents of a room can go up,” said Vito Czyz, director of Safety and Security at the university. “We hope this really drives home to students how important fire safety is.”


Just before the room is set on fire, Czyz will explain to students the reason for the drill and emphasize to them how diligent they should be when it comes to residence hall fire safety.


“Forget for a moment the material loss that can be sustained,” Czyz said. “Just imagine the horror if lives are lost or scarred forever because of someone’s carelessness.”


State and local fire code inspectors will also be on hand for the demonstration. All members of the Bonaventure community, especially students, are encouraged to attend the demonstration, Czyz said. An area in front of the fire scene will be cordoned off for viewing.


The e2campus text alert system will be used shortly before 6 p.m. on Sept. 15 to let the campus community know about the demonstration. If students or staff haven’t signed up for the alert system, or want to check their account expiration date, go to:




About the University: St. Bonaventure is ranked 29th in U.S.News & World Report’s 2011 ranking of Northern universities that offer master’s degrees. It has a history of accomplishment and service that extends back more than 150 years. At the heart of St. Bonaventure is the Franciscan affirmation of the dignity and worth of the entire created order. Fundamental to this vision is an awareness that it is within relationships and community that individuals discover and develop their potential.

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