By Ed Comeau
For the first time since Campus Firewatch started collecting data on college-related fires, there were no fire deaths in the 2015/2016 academic year.
Since a high of 20 in 2006/2007, fire deaths have been steadily going down, with four fire deaths in both of the preceding academic years (2013/2014 and 2014/2015), leading into zero fire deaths last year. Since 2005, every fire death has occurred in off-campus housing where a majority of the students live, making off-campus housing an at-risk environment for students. A significant contributing factor to this downward trend is the greater emphasis that fire departments, schools and communities are placing on educating students and parents.
Campus Firewatch compiles information on college-related fire deaths by monitoring news reports. When an incident occurs in student housing (on-campus, off-campus or Greek housing), the school and fire department are contacted to verify the details, which are made available on the Campus Firewatch website at www.campus-firewatch.com.