Jan. 11, 2010
Students displaced by off-campus apartment fire
Maryville, Mo. - Northwest is reminding students to take steps to protect their belongings and help prevent fires in their residences after a weekend fire caused severe damage to an off-campus apartment and displaced several residents.
Maryville Public Safety attributed the cause of the fire, which was reported about 11:15 p.m. Friday, to a child playing with a candle. Two non-students were treated for smoke inhalation and released from St. Francis Hospital, according to emergency officials.
More than a dozen residents were displaced from the apartment, including six Northwest students. Northwest's Student Affairs office worked to arrange housing for the displaced students.
Often students who are living on their own for the first time assume these accidents won't happen to them. However, it's important students take proactive steps to protect themselves and their belongings in case of an unexpected tragedy.
- Purchase renter's insurance to protect your personal property. Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive with many policies ranging from $10 to $20 a month. In some cases, your parents' homeowners insurance policy might also offer coverage while you're living away from home.
- Make sure your name is on the lease. Anyone living in your apartment whose name does not appear on a signed lease agreement may not be eligible for insurance and other benefits in the event of a fire, theft or other loss.
Also, remember these precautions to lower the chances of a fire in your residence hall or apartment, especially as students look for ways to stay warm this winter:
- Never leave burning candles unattended During 2005, an estimated 15,600 home fires started by candles, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Burning candles should be blown out before you leave a room or go to sleep. If you must burn a candle, keep it at least 12 inches away from anything that can catch fire, and be sure the candle is on a sturdy surface where it cannot tip easily.
- Do not leave space heaters unattended. Between 2003 and 2006, heating equipment left too close to things that can burn - such as furniture, clothing and bedding - was the leading cause of all home heating fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Space heaters should be kept at least 3 feet from flammable materials. Portable electric heaters are designed for temporary supplemental heating only.
- Make sure you have working smoke detectors. According to the Home Safety Council, deaths in homes with working smoke alarms are 40 to 50 percent lower than those in homes without functioning alarms. Smoke alarms are one of the most important devices you can buy and install easily to protect yourself in the case of a fire.
For more information, please contact:
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468