Today in fire history: ten students die in dormitory fire

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Dec 1, 2011

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.  (http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=2081&itemID=48627&URL=Research/Fire%20investigations/Residential/Dormitories)  All visitors can read a full report about fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities and barracks as well. (http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=1287&itemID=29862&URL=Research/Fire%20reports/Occupancies#ED)