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In the early-morning hours of December 13, 1977, a fire occurred in a college dormitory at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island.  The fire resulted in the deaths of ten students who were residents of the fourth floor.  The primary fuel for the fire was highly combustible Christmas decorations that had been put up in the corridors.  Two of the ten student fatalities died from injuries received when they jumped out a window, four died of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation, and four died as a direct result of burns.  Twelve students and one firefighter were injured.

The extremely rapid fired development and a dead-end corridor were the most significant factors that contributed to the multiple loss of life in this incident.  NFPA members can download a 1978 Fire Journal article about this incident.  (  All visitors can read a full report about fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities and barracks as well. (

FAC_Logo_FNFPA has recently been awarded a cooperative agreement by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to develop a Fire Adapted Communities™ (FAC) initiative aimed at raising the level of wildfire risk awareness among the public, and encourage shared responsibility and pro-active planning for living safely in high-risk areas. The project includes the development of a comprehensive website to be launched in Spring 2011.

The website will draw on a number of existing wildland fire safety resources and successful programs to help emphasize the importance of being a fire adapted community, and how to become one, and will provide a collection of resources in one place at

According to Molly Mowery, NFPA’s program manager for Fire Adapted Communities and International Outreach, “There are a host of programs, including the Firewise Communities Program, that have been successful, and we want to let the public know about them so they can begin to take action both individually and as a community. The new Fire Adapted Communities website will help people understand all of these existing concepts and pull them together in one easily accessible place.”

NFPA is collaborating with a coalition of eight organizations, who will also provide content for the new site.

Learn more about NFPA’s Fire Adapted Communities initiative and the coalition members by visiting its interim webpage.

A fire, suspected to be incendiary, at a luxury resort hotel in Bermuda on December 1, 1977 led to three fatalities.  This fire occurred at the same time there were civil disturbances in Bermuda that resulted in simultaneous fires.  This meant that fewer firefighters were available to fight the hotel fire; however, the hotel’s own private fire brigade assisted the public brigade in containing the fire and preventing further loss of life.

Shortly before 11:30 p.m., a hotel employee saw smoke on the second floor and immediately notified the telephone operator, who received simultaneous notification over the alarm panel that there was a fire on the sixth floor.  The first employee went to the sixth floor, discovered a working fire, and ordered the hotel evacuated.  Members of the hotel’s fire brigade started evacuating guests and laying out hoselines on the fifth floor.  Once conditions became untenable due to heat and smoke, many guests were trapped on their balconies.  Members of both fire brigades stayed on the balconies with guests to keep them calm until the fire was out, at which time they escorted the guests out of the building.

NFPA members can read the full Fire Journal article.

-Ben Evarts

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