Colleges on Alert After Rash of Campus-Related Fires

There have already been seven significant campus-related fires this year.


The department does all of the training for the resident assistants -- something Cleveland said was invaluable in evacuating close to 250 students from the building.

"As this fire unfolded, we evacuated the students very quickly and I think part of that is that there is a very good relationship and the fact that they have all embraced the concept of fire safety."

He said that the university has recently torn down older dormitories and has replaced them with ones with sprinklers and expects that to continue.

Following this incident, which is the first major fire on the campus since he took over as chief in 2006, he said plans have been made to meet with officials to see what they could improve on for the future.

He said that his relationship with university officials -- including the chancellor -- helped with communication the day of the fire.

He said that he has met the head of the university on several occasions and that they spoke to each other while at the fire.

"I think it's important that both the chancellor and fire chief are on the same page when it comes to fire safety," he said. "I recommend to other chiefs that the first time you meet the chancellor shouldn't be at a fire."