Same Scenario – Different Day

6 Apr

Have you ever noticed that when The Universe is trying to teach us something, if we don’t get it, the same lesson just keeps coming again and again until we do?

Never has that been more apparent to me than in the area of campus fire safety.  When Liz died from a fire in her duplex, I automatically assumed it was just this freak accident that shouldn’t have happened.

However, just this morning I received  notification of another fire fatality in off-campus housing at Eastern Michigan University


Contact: Ed Comeau, Publisher
Campus Firewatch
413-323-6002 (tel)
413-896-5718 (cell)
Student from Eastern Michigan University killed in off-campus fire in Ann Arbor, Michigan
BELCHERTOWN, Mass., April 6, 2010 — A student from Eastern Michigan University was killed in an off-campus fire in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

According to the university, 22-year-old Renden LeMasters was killed in the fire.  LeMasters was a senior in the College of Technology.

In an interview with Campus Firewatch, Ann Arbor Fire Marshal Kathleen Chamberlain reported that the fire was reported at approximately 5:30 a.m. and started in the area of the front porch which contained upholstered furniture, trash and other combustibles.  The fire, which was detected by a passerby, then spread into the interior of the building through a front dormer window and two doors which were left open when the occupants escaped from the fire.  The victim was found in front of the building by the first arriving fire department personnel.  The cause of the fire is under investigation and has not been determined at this time.
The building is a two-story, wood-frame, building that had been divided into three units located in the basement, first floor and second floor.  There were interconnected smoke alarms in the building but no residential fire sprinklers.
According to Chamberlain, the Ann Arbor Fire Department had previously attempted to have an ordinance passed that would ban upholstered furniture from front porches but was unsuccessful.  Before this fire occurred, they were in the process of trying again because of the danger that these conditions present.  “These are incredible fire hazards,” said Chamberlain.
Nationwide, this is the fifth campus-related fire fatality to occur in the 2009-2010 academic year, all of which have occurred since January.  According to information compiled by Campus Firewatch, 140 people have died in campus-related fires since January 2000 with over 84% of them occurring in off-campus occupancies where a majority of the students across the nation live.
Campus Firewatch is a social enterprise focusing on campus fire safety. For more information, visit our website at

Campus Firewatch ● P.O. Box 1046, Belchertown, MA ● 01007 ● 1-413-323-6002 (tel)

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The similarities are stunningly familiar:

fire call comes in 5:30 am

fire starts on a porch in a couch

the building is a wooden two story

How sad that an ordinance outlawing couches on porches was not enacted – perhaps now it will – but does it really take another death of a college-aged student to make it happen?


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