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BREAKING NEWS

Arson Claims Life of Saddleback College Student

[CCFS Administrator]  [July 10, 2013 3:19 pm ]  [Views 745]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Arson Ends the Life of a Saddleback College Student
Newburyport, Massachusetts – July 10, 2013. 

(UPDATE July 15, 2013:  This death was ruled a suicide. Story)

Tragedy struck the Saddleback College campus, located in Mission Viejo, CA, when an early morning fire occurred at 6:39 on Monday, July 8, 2013.  One student was left dead in the wake of a fire that occurred in the campus’s Business and General Studies Building, according to a Saddleback College press release.  The Orange County Fire Authority has deemed this fire to be arson, as traces of accelerants were found on the scene.  The identity of the victim, a 21 year old male who was found with second and third degree burns and was unconscious at the scene, has yet to be released, as the investigation is currently ongoing. 

Although unconscious on the scene and without a pulse, first responders were able to transport him to Mission Hospital, where he regained vital signs.  He was medevaced to West Med Santa Ana, the Grossman Burn Center, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries.  The University revealed that the departed was enrolled in a class that was supposed to meet at 7:00 that morning in the same building in which the fire had occurred.  The unknown student had been enrolled at the college since 2011 and had a grade point average of 3.23.  In a joint investigation between the Saddleback College Police, the Orange County Fire Authority, and the Orange County Sherriff’s Office, officials are trying to determine if the student was involved in the fire or merely a victim of it. 

According to the information contained in the University’s Clery Act Annual Report, this is the first instance of arson on the campus since 2011; there have been no other such cases since at least 2008.    At the time that this release was issued, details regarding the 2011 arson are unknown to this author; additionally, we were unable to ascertain if the Business and General Studies Building is sprinklered.  In addition to claiming a life, the fire cost the college an estimated $400,000.00.  According to reports, the fire was contained –for the most part- in a single lecture hall on the third floor of the building.  Classes have since resumed in the first floor of the building, however, classes on the second and third floors have been relocated to different buildings, pending the clean-up and restoration process, according to a college press release.

“The Center for Campus Fire Safety also wants to point out the necessity of fire sprinkler systems”, said Paul D. Martin, President of The Center for Campus Fire Safety.  “To have residence halls without fire sprinklers today should be unacceptable to parents” said Martin. Fire Sprinklers protect people and structures.  Most people don't realize that 8 out of 10 fire deaths occur at night when everyone is asleep. Fires are also fast; they can go from a tiny flame to total destruction in as little as three minutes. Fire sprinklers can suppress and often extinguish a fire before the fire department arrives, providing additional time to escape.

 

The Center for Campus Fire Safety – Fire Fatality Data Updated after July 15, 2013 suicide ruling:

From January 2000 to Present:

 

      83 fatal fires have been documented that occurred on a college campus, in Greek housing or in off-campus housing within 3-miles of the campus – claiming a total of 120 victims.

  • » 70 fires have occurred in off-campus housing claiming 101 victims
  • » 7 fires have occurred in on-campus building or residence halls claiming 9 victims
  • » 6 fires have occurred in Greek housing claiming 10 victims


CCFS has been documenting specific campus related fires deaths since Year 2000.  Current and more detailed statistics, along with the definition of how we define “campus related fires” are always posted on the website, along with a host of fire safety resources and tips for fire safety professionals as well as students in both universities and off-campus housing.  One of the resources includes a daily and ongoing listing of other fire incidents in the higher education arena.

To learn more about CCFS and its programs, visit www.campusfiresafety.org.  

For additional information:

Fire Fatality Statistics and Definition: 
http://www.campusfiresafety.org/firefatalitystatistics


Continual e-news -campus fire & safety:
http://www.campusfiresafety.org/News


Campus Fire Safety Resources: http://www.campusfiresafety.org/resources 

About The Center for Campus Fire Safety (CCFS)
The Center for Campus Fire Safety (CCFS) is a non-profit, member focused organization devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire at our nation's campuses. The mission of The Center for Campus Fire Safety is to serve as an advocate for the promotion of campus fire safety. CCFS serves as the focal point for the efforts of a number of organizations and also as a clearinghouse for information relating to campus fire safety. Visit us at www.campusfiresafety.org for more information.

Media Contacts
The Center for Campus Fire Safety | 978.961.0410
Paul D. Martin, President, pmatin@campusfiresafety.org
Cathy Tabor, Director of Marketing Communications, ctabor@campusfiresafety.org

 

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