Fire Displaces 117 at SUNY Oneonta

A fire in Matteson Hall, a dormitory on the campus of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta, has displaced 117 students. The fire, which was first reported at 3:59 p.m. on January 16, 2012, occurred on the third floor. Luckily, unlike yesterday’s tragic news, there were no deaths resulting from this fire; one person was treated for smoke inhalation, but refused transport to a hospital. At the time of this press release, the cause of the fire has yet to be announced. This incident does, however, highlight the importance of working sprinkler systems. According to the University’s website, the building had a sprinkler system that only covered a single garbage room; the rest of the building was left unprotected.

“The Center for Campus Fire Safety 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.

Update (1/17/13, 4:45 PM ET): The fire reported earlier today at the State University of New York at Oneonta has been declared to be accidental.  The cause of the fire was determined to be a faulty power strip.  There were no fatalities and one individual was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, but was released without being transported to the hospital.

The National Fire Administration recommends the following safety precautions

  • Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately. Do not try to repair them.
  • Buy only appliances that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Major and small appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord. Unplug small appliances when not in use.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Use only surge protectors or power strips that have internal overload protection and have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched by furniture, under rugs and carpets, or across doorways.
  • Extension cords are for temporary use only. Have a qualified electrician determine if additional circuits or wall outlets are needed.

To learn more about CCFS and its programs, visit

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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 for more information.

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

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