Built to Burn

Within seconds, smoke from the fire will engulf the dorm room. Within minutes…well, after a few minutes it doesn’t matter anymore.

Fake dormitories were set ablaze at Georgia State’s third annual Fire Safety Carnival. Students were taught what a lack of fire safety could cause.

The carnival held at Hurt Park greeted students, faculty, staff, parents and visitors with games, music and free food. Many of the games taught participants how to handle a fire emergency.

Leah Jordan | The Signal
A fake dorm demonstration at the Fire Safety Carnival last week.

“This is basically to prepare the students for any safety issues that they can encounter in their dorm,” said Raphael Johnson, one of the volunteer organizers. “Fire safety is the main concern, though.”

The main attractions, two fake dorms, were set on fire to demonstrate the danger of dorm fires and to show the response time of firefighters—six to seven minutes—is sometimes not quick enough. The time it took for the dorm to be engulfed in flames was about four minutes.

Despite the precautions taken by the university, cooking accidents caused many fires; there have been a total of seven in the last three years. The biggest and most expensive fire occurred in May 2011 and damaged $47,200 worth of property. Cooking was stated as the official cause, according to the Campus Safety Report.

“In a way I feel safe, but sometimes the fire alarms don’t always go off,” said Phan Lu, freshman and resident of the Lofts.

Other students, such as freshman and resident of Freshman Hall Jennifer Vega, expressed their concerns that their dormitories are not safe enough.

Vega pointed out that the stairs in Freshman Hall are usually blocked and said she worries that if a fire were to occur, the stairs would not be a viable escape option.