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BREAKING NEWS

Doctorate Researcher Killed in Off Campus Fire and 16 People Displaced

[CCFS News Reporter]  [February 8, 2013 1:59 pm ]  [Views 557]

Doctorate Researcher Killed in Off Campus Fire, 16 People Displaced
Newburyport, Massachusetts – February 8, 2013.

A Kansas State University post-doctorate researcher was killed in an off campus fire in the late hours of Wednesday, February 6, 2013.  The departed has been identified as Vasanta Lakshmi Pallem, a 34 year old post-doctorate fellow working in the university’s chemical engineering department.  As a result of this fire, sixteen occupants, the majority of whom are “K-State” students, were also displaced.  University officials are working to find these students housing and to assist their campus community in the bereavement process.  

The fire was reported to be small and was reported to be extinguished quickly.  Nevertheless, Pallem suffered smoke inhalation during the course of the fire and was hospitalized; she later succumbed to her injuries.  Officials have yet to announce a cause for the fire.  The Center for Campus Fire Safety will continue to monitor this tragedy and will update this release once the cause has been identified.


CCFS reflects on this tragedy and also wants to remind everyone of the importance of properly installing and maintaining smoke detectors and other fire prevention equipment, in accordance with prescribed codes and standards.  But let’s look beyond requirements and ask ourselves what else we can do to avoid potential loss of life from fire.

•    Plan your escape routes - Identify windows and doors, know two ways out and determine an escape route before the fire. Always choose the safest escape route - the one with the least amount smoke and heat. Be prepared to get low under smoke if necessary.

•    Keep escape routes clear – do not allow objects to be stored in halls or stairwells. Make sure windows can be easily opened.

•    Inspect the exterior door at bottom of stairwell. It must be able to be opened without a key from the inside. Door cannot be blocked by snow, cars or other objects.

•    Keep an emergency escape ladder on upper floors. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the safe use of emergency escape ladders. Only purchase emergency escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Only use the ladder from upper floors in a real emergency.
•    Choose a meeting place in advance - Pick a highly visible area, a safe distance away from the flames, to meet in case of fire related emergency.

•    Be prepared - Practice your emergency exit routes with each occupant. Practice crawling low to avoid toxic smoke from a fire. Practice feeling doors for heat before opening. Practice opening windows. Practice using an emergency escape ladder from the first floor.

•    Use a portable fire extinguisher only if you know how and can do so safely.  Before using a fire extinguisher call 9-1-1 and sound the fire alarm. Fire extinguishers are useful only for very small fires, like those contained in a small waste basket. If the fire is larger that, exit the building immediately.
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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