Dorm rooms set ablaze in fire safety demonstration

By Shelby Tankersley

Two make shift dorms were set ablaze in a fire safety demonstration hosted by Oakland University and the fire departments from Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills, Sept. 10.

 “We did this to demonstrate to students on campus the dangers of fire and also the benefits of having fire sprinklers in structures,” Nancy Butty, fire and life safety educator for the Rochester Hills Fire Department said. “Since we want them to really be able to see the danger of fires and the benefit of sprinklers if a fire does happen, we have the side by side rooms with and without a sprinkler.”

While the firefighters provided the flames and water, OU brought the majority of the furniture to make the rooms look like a dorm found on campus.

 The demonstration was quick, only taking two and a half minutes for the dorm without a sprinkler to burn, giving students a very close idea of how quickly a dorm can be destroyed in a fire.

“We have done this before, and we wanted to make it an annual thing,” Cora Hanson, manager for environmental health and life safety at Oakland said. “This is a really important time to deliver this message, a lot of people are new to living away from their homes and we want students to do things safely, whether they live on campus or not.”    

The students who saw not only got to enjoy the flames but were able to learn how dangerous fires can be in a smaller space, such as a dorm or apartment.

“I heard something was going to be on fire, so I came,” freshman Elizabeth Deneen said. “But the difference between the rooms with and without the sprinkler was much bigger than I thought it would be.”

So put some water in that Easy Mac and be wary of things that are plugged into a wall. After all, it only takes a few minutes for fire to turn a room into ash.