Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

September 16, 2013

FSU president grateful for remarkable response to fire

Sept. 15, 2013

To the Editor:

On Sept. 10, Frostburg State University experienced a fire in our Chesapeake Dining Hall during the busy dinner hour.

What could have been a tragic situation instead became an opportunity to witness a truly remarkable response from our local fire departments, FSU and Aramark employees and our local community at large, for which I could not be more grateful.

The fire originated in a stove and traveled up a ventilation system. Students and employees were quickly evacuated, and no one was hurt.

The rapid response of employees, who triggered a fire suppression system, and the fire companies prevented the fire from spreading and contained the severity of the incident.

Fire companies from Frostburg, Shaft, LaVale, Midland, Eastern Garrett, Cresaptown, Mount Savage, Lonaconing, Piedmont and Clarysville responded, along with ambulance squads from Frostburg and LaVale.

That was just the beginning of the amazing response, however.

Frostburg’s Mayor Robert Flanagan called and was prepared to mobilize local restaurant owners to feed our students if the dining hall were not prepared to reopen.

University Police personnel, who were the first to respond and had ensured that the building was evacuated, provided support throughout the incident.

Aramark, FSU’s food service provider, allowed students to dine at the Lane University Center without additional cost.

Lane University Center employees were preparing to host hundreds for breakfast before it was determined that Chesapeake would reopen on time.

After the fire marshal released the building back to FSU, repairs and a significant cleanup task were accomplished overnight, and the building opened on schedule to provide breakfast.

In short, my thanks to everyone for such a swift and positive response to what could have been a very bad situation.

Nobody was hurt, the building was quickly reopened with minimal damage and there was only a marginal impact on serving our students. My thanks to all who responded and who acted incredibly professionally during this incident.

A special word of thanks to our emergency responders and to the City of Frostburg for always being there when we need them.

Jonathan Gibralter, president

Frostburg State University

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