aimed at improving fire safety for UC Berkeley students renting
houses in the East Bay
Marie Felde, Media Relations
- The first steps in an action plan to improve fire safety
for University of California, Berkeley, students living in
rental houses were taken last week by UC Berkeley Chancellor
Robert M. Berdahl and officials from Berkeley and Oakland.
portion of Berkeley students live in private rental housing.
We need to work together to find ways to educate our students
about fire safety and intensify inspections and monitoring
of these rentals," said Berdahl.
called the special meeting on Feb. 9 following last month's
Oakland house fire that claimed the life of Bradley Evans,
23. The Jan. 28 fire was the second fire of the school year
in which a UC Berkeley student died. Both fires occurred in
single-family homes rented by students.
is the number one concern in all of our cities. We need cooperation
between property owners and tenants," said Berkeley Mayor
Shirley Dean. "One of the most effective ways we can act is
through a strong program of education - knowing what to look
for and contacting us when something is wrong."
attending the meeting were Berkeley City Manager Weldon Rucker,
Berkeley Fire Chief Reginald Garcia, Oakland Fire Marshal
Leroy Griffin, UC Berkeley Fire Marshal Dennis Mueting and
campus housing and student affairs officials.
actions agreed upon Friday were:
* The campus,
working with its housing office and student groups, will undertake
a comprehensive fire safety education campaign aimed at ensuring
that no student moves into a house that does not have a working
smoke detector and working windows or other ways to easily
exit in the event of a fire.
will be educated on where to place smoke detectors and which
kinds are most effective. For example, those that have a 10-year
battery that can not be raided for other uses are preferable,
said the fire officials.
will be directed on how to contact local fire departments
to seek inspections if they do not believe their rentals meet
fire safety requirements.
departments in Oakland and Berkeley and the campus's fire
marshal will work together to explore funding grants from
the Federal Emergency Management Agency to enhance fire prevention,
safety and inspection programs.
and campus fire officials also agreed to explore forming a
joint effort with other nearby cities akin to the multi-agency
fire safety committee formed after the Oakland Hills fire.
It would be one way, they said, to keep fire safety in rental
homes in the forefront of public attention.
attendance at the meeting was Jonas Jusay, a student at UC
Irvine. He has been working to improve fire safety for students
since August when a fire in a rented Berkeley house claimed
the lives of his sister, Azalea, who was a Berkeley student,
and his parents, Francisco and Florita Jusay, who were helping
her move in. "When I learned of the latest fire, everything
came back. I did not want to have that happen to anyone again,"
is a simple solution. The first thing I do now when I walk
into a house is look for a smoke detector and an exit, a way
to get out," said Jusay.
said that in multi-family units, such as apartments and rooming
houses, smoke detectors are required in every sleeping room
and in the hallways, and that regular inspections are required.
Single-family homes also require smoke detectors, but fire
officials are not free to enter homes to inspect them unless
requested to or when there is a complaint, they said.
to work more closely with the student population and the public
to get out information on how to get assistance. If you call
our office, we will come out and inspect for you," said Garcia,
the Berkeley fire chief.
were present in the recent Oakland fire, said officials, but
investigators could not find them in the Berkeley house where
some of the windows could not be opened, trapping the Jusay