For the Record 9/13

College Campus Fire Safety

Each year college and university students, on- and off-campus, experience hundreds of fire-related emergencies nationwide. There are several specific causes for fires on college campuses, including cooking, intentionally set fires, overloaded power strips and open flame. Overall, most college-related fires are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention.

For most students, the last fire safety training they received was in grade school, but with new independence comes new responsibilities. It is important that both off-campus and on-campus students understand fire risks and know the preventative measures that could save their lives. With that in mind, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) offers the following safety tips for college students:


  • Make sure candles are in sturdy holders and put out after each use.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Keep candles away from draperies and linens.
  • Use flameless candles, which are both safe and attractive.


  • Cook only where it is permitted.
  • Keep your cooking area clean and uncluttered.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • If a fire starts in a microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.


  • Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
  • Use deep, wide ashtrays. Place ashtrays on something sturdy and hard to ignite.
  • After a party, check for cigarette butts, especially under cushions. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast.
  • It is risky to smoke when you have been drinking or are drowsy.

Escape Planning

  • Get low and go under the smoke to escape to your safe exit.
  • Feel the door. If it's hot, use your second way out.
  • Use the stairs; never use an elevator during a fire.
  • Practice your escape plan. Always have two ways out.

Source: USFA


Four HFD Firefighters Die in Fire/Collapse

The Houston Fire Department (HFD) lost 4 Firefighters in the line of duty on May 31, 2013 following a fire and collapse. The following are the HFD members who gave the ultimate sacrifice at that fire in Southwest Houston:

Captain EMT Matthew Renaud, 23, 35) of Engine 68.  Renaud began his career with the HFD in October of 2001. In addition to Fire Station 68, he has served out of stations 51, 39, 83, 73, 37, 60 and 35.

Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee, 41, of Station 51. Bebee began his career with the HFD in August of 2001. In addition to Fire Station 51, he has served out of Stations 37, 40, 10 and 48.

Firefighter EMT Robert Garner, 29, of Station 68. Garner began his career with the HFD in October of 2010 and has served out of Fire Station 68 ever since.

Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan, 24, of Station 68. Sullivan graduated from HFD Academy this past April and was assigned to Fire Station 68.

The Houston Fire Department has never had four firefighters lose their lives from the same incident. In 1929, three firefighters were killed in the line of duty after their engine was broadsided by a train. On May 31, five other firefighters were transported to the hospital for a range of injuries.


The Silver Fire

A fire that started in Riverside County, CA, south of Banning on August 7, 2013 spread across the San Jacinto Mountains burning 20,292 acres. Twelve people were injured including 11 firefighters. As of August 11, the fire was 95% contained. Twenty-six residences, one commercial structure and 21 outbuildings were destroyed. Eight other outbuildings were damaged. Numerous residents in the area were evacuated. During the height of the fire, more than 1,400 firefighters using 62 engines, 59 fire crews, nine helicopters, five dozers and 10 water tenders battled the blaze.

During the fire several photographers, including Shawn Kaye, grabbed a garden hose and stopped a fire in a garage from extending into a house. As Kaye was operating, Mike Meadows found some fire crews to respond.