KSU burns dorm room to teach students a lesson (Marietta Daily Journal)

MDJ Staff Kelly J. Huff

Mock residence hall room burn exercise

MARIETTA, Ga. (Feb 20, 2017) — The Marietta Fire Department usually puts out fires, but yesterday, they started one.

The fire was a controlled burn of a mock dorm room at Kennesaw State University’s Marietta campus that the department aimed to use to educate students about fire safety. 
“I think a lot of students don’t realize how quickly a fire can grow and how important the safety equipment we have on campus is until they see something on fire and feel the heat,” said KSU Fire and Life Safety Manager Matt Shannon.

Shannon said cooking is the top cause of dorm fires, and that the demonstration simulated what might happen if a student threw away burned food. Matt Klinger, a mechanical engineering and technology major who lives on campus, said he will think twice before cooking in the dorm.

“The fire just spread really fast,” Klinger said. “A lot faster than I expected.”

Jeff Cooper, director of residence life at KSU, said unlike the mock dorm, real dorms at KSU are equipped with sprinklers to help slow the spread of fire, but he hopes students will leave with one important lesson.

“When they hear an alarm, they need to evacuate immediately and not second-guess why they may be hearing the alarm,” he said. “It may be somebody burning popcorn, but it may be an actual fire.”




A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu