Legislation aims to prevent college fire deaths

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rep. Steve Israel announced Tuesday morning he will introduce federal legislation to prevent fire deaths at colleges and universities nationwide that was inspired by the death two years ago of a 21-year-old Commack woman in a house fire in upstate New York.

On Jan. 21, 2012, Kerry Rose Fitzsimons, a senior at Marist College, died in an off-campus house fire in Poughkeepsie. Also killed were fellow college student Eva Block, 21, of Woodbridge, Conn., and former Marist student Kevin Johnson, 21, of New Canaan, Conn.

"Those deaths may have been preventable," said Israel (D-Huntington) at the Commack Fire Department. "They may have been preventable had there been sprinklers in that house."

Israel's legislation, the Kerry Rose Fire Sprinkler Notification Act, would require colleges and universities to notify students about what kind of fire-safety systems are in their college-owned dorm rooms or apartments and notify them again when they move in.

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