Bryan’s research (1997) found significant upward trends in incendiary and
suspicious fires in 1995 compared to 1955. Between 1955 and 1995, the incidence of
arson jumped from ten to 30 percent.
While the review of the Fresno Fire Department records management system did
not reveal any arson fires in the CSUF dormitories in the past ten years, the incidence of
arson in the city of Fresno appears to be very high. In 2001, the Fresno Fire Department
reported a total property fire loss of over 15 million dollars. Over three million dollars,
or 20 percent, was due to arson (City of Fresno, 2003). It may be only a matter of time
before an arson-related event occurs within the CSUF residence halls.
The survey of resident advisors revealed students continue to use cooking
appliances inside the dorms. This activity appears to place students at risk since cooking
within dormitory rooms constituted 16 percent of all dormitory fires. On the other hand,
resident advisors reported a relatively low number of students smoke in the dorms. This
may be due to California’s stringent laws regarding smoking in public places. This
includes the CSUF residence halls where policies and procedures do not allow smoking
in the dorms. These areas, along with the use of open flame devices, are addressed in the
fire safety lesson plan (see Appendix E).
The leading activity of fire victims was found to be fire control activities. This
information should be included in fire safety education. Many safety education programs
inform occupants how to control small blazes. The interview with Jeff Summitt,
Assistant Housing Director, revealed resident advisors at CSUF dormitories receive
training on the policies and procedures concerning fire safety as well as the use of fire