State News

Fatal Fires Involving College Students in Recent U.S. History

Posted October 29, 2007 6:39 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2007 7:30 p.m. EDT

A list of some fatally fires involving college students in recent U.S. history:

  • Aug. 29, 1976: A fire believed to have been caused by careless smoking kills five Kappa Sigma fraternity members at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan.
  • Dec. 13, 1977: Ten female students are killed in a fire at Providence College's Aquinas Hall in R.I.
  • Sept. 8, 1990: Three University of California, Berkeley students die and two are injured at the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. A visitor to the house admits starting the fire while playing with a lighter.
  • Oct. 12, 1994: Five students at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania die after a sofa catches fire at Beta Sigma Delta fraternity house.
  • May 12, 1996: Five students die and three are injured at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill at Phi Gamma Delta fraternity the day before graduation ceremony. Investigators blame a cigarette tossed into a trash can.
  • Jan. 19, 2000: Three students die and 62 are injured in the freshman dormitory at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J.
  • March 19, 2000: Three students from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania are killed in the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house off campus.
  • April 13, 2003: Five students from Ohio State University and Ohio University are killed in an off-campus apartment building in Columbus. A fire broke out after a birthday party for one of the victims had been held earlier in the evening.
  • Aug. 27, 2004: A fire that started in a basement bedroom of the Alpha Tau Omega house at the University of Mississippi kills three students.
  • Oct. 7, 2005: A smoldering cigarette caused a fire that killed two North Carolina State University fraternity students at an off-campus duplex.
  • Oct. 28, 2007: Six students from the University of South Carolina and one from Clemson University are killed in a fire at a house in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. where they had been spending the weekend. Six South Carolina students in the house survived.


Sources: National Fire Protection Association, Campus Firewatch, and reports.

According to Campus Firewatch, over 80 percent of the campus-related fire fatalities across the country since January 2000 have occurred in off-campus housing. In 2006-07, there were 20 campus-related fire deaths, including one fatality at Halifax Community College in Weldon.