Purdue University: Student Dies in House Fire

Report from Center for Campus Fire Safety

The house at 111 Lutz Street sits vacant after a fire ravaged it early Saturday morning. In its wake, the fire left one man dead and two injured. The departed was identified by the Tippecanoe County Medical Examiner as 22-year-old Scott Notary, of Lafayette, Indiana, a senior at Purdue University. Notary was found on the second floor of his house by fire crews.

The fire was first reported at 2:46 a.m. The house, where this tragedy occurred, is mere blocks away from Purdue’s campus. The fire also caused an evacuation of nearby residences.

The other two occupants were transported to area hospitals, with non-life threatening injuries, and have been subsequently released; Notary’s pet dog also perished in the fire. Although the cause has yet to be determined, the fire is not believed to be suspicious. Also unknown is whether the house had working smoke detectors.

CCFS reflects on this tragedy and also wants to remind everyone of the importance of properly installing and maintaining smoke detectors and other fire prevention equipment, in accordance with prescribed codes and standards. But let’s look beyond requirements and ask ourselves what else we can do to avoid potential loss of life from fire.

  • Plan your escape routes – Identify windows and doors, know two ways out and determine an escape route before the fire. Always choose the safest escape route – the one with the least amount smoke and heat. Be prepared to get low under smoke if necessary.
  • Keep escape routes clear – do not allow objects to be stored in halls or stairwells. Make sure windows can be easily opened.
  • Inspect the exterior door at bottom of stairwell. It must be able to be opened without a key from the inside. Door cannot be blocked by snow, cars or other objects.
  • Keep an emergency escape ladder on upper floors. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the safe use of emergency escape ladders. Only purchase emergency escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Only use the ladder from upper floors in a real emergency.
  • Choose a meeting place in advance – Pick a highly visible area, a safe distance away from the flames, to meet in case of fire related emergency.
  • Be prepared – Practice your emergency exit routes with each occupant. Practice crawling low to avoid toxic smoke from a fire. Practice feeling doors for heat before opening. Practice opening windows. Practice using an emergency escape ladder from the first floor.
  • Use a portable fire extinguisher only if you know how and can do so safely. Before using a fire extinguisher call 911 and sound the fire alarm. Fire extinguishers are useful only for very small fires, like those contained in a small waste basket. If the fire is larger that, exit the building immediately.

To learn more about CCFS and its programs, visit www.campusfiresafety.org.

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