Penn’s Division of Public Safety Hosts Screening and Discussion of Film ‘9 Fires’

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820October 16, 2012

PHILADELPHIA -- In early 2012, a series of nine campus-related fires occurred across the country.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Public Safety is hosting a screening and discussion of “9 Fires,” a short documentary about nine campus-related fires that occurred earlier this year across the country.  The event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 18, in the Terrace Room of Claudia Cohen Hall.

9 Fires” illustrates the impact these fires had on many lives.  It follows what happened after the fires and features interviews with survivors and their families. 

One of the fires claimed three lives at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.  Other campus-related fires featured in the film took place in Boston and Brookline, Mass., as well as in Hampden-Sydney, Va.  Other fires broke out in fraternity houses, residence halls, laboratories and off-campus and on-campus housing.

“Over five years, beginning in 2001, the University of Pennsylvania has spent over $32 million to install state-of-the-art sprinkler systems throughout the college houses, fraternities and sororities, in our commitment to the security and safety of our students,” Maureen S. Rush, vice president for public safety, said. 

The film’s producers are the founders of the Michael H. Minger Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes campus fire-safety awareness, and they will participate in a discussion with Public Safety officials about the University’s Fire and Emergency Services team’s integrated approach to fire safety.

“We were honored when the Minger Foundation requested to premier the documentary ‘9 Fires’ here,” Rush said.  “Gail Minger, the president of the Minger Foundation, specifically chose Penn because of our strong advocacy role in keeping students safe from fire tragedies.”

“We are excited to showcase the Minger Foundation's first documentary, ‘9 Fires’ at the University of Pennsylvania, which will help to raise awareness of campus fire safety for thousands of college students,” Minger said.

Later that evening, as a part of the Philadelphia Fire Department’s city-wide home fire drill, on-campus housing facilities at Penn, Temple University and Drexel University will participate in a simultaneous fire drill evacuation.

The Minger Foundation was founded after the death of Michael Minger in an arson fire at Murray State University in Kentucky.  Michael had a non-verbal learning disability, which is on the autism spectrum and was a contributing factor to his death.  The foundation’s mission is to raise the awareness and standards of campus fire safety for all students, with a special focus on students with disabilities.

RSVPs for this film screening, lunch and discussion arerequired:  rsvp@publicsafety.upenn.edu.