On April 8, researchers and students from Virginia Tech and Virginia Western Community College participated in an unusual experiment. The researchers, in the name of fire safety, ignited two nearly identical residence hall rooms on fire.
'Oak Flame 2011' was the result of partnership between Virginia Tech and several area community colleges and was a part of a $3.8 million Department of Labor grant. The project provided community college participants with valuable construction and management experience while demonstrating to students living on college campuses and university officials the importance of sprinkler systems and obeying fire safety regulations.
Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Environmental Health and Safety, Oak Flame 2011, took place at the Oak Lane community on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus and featured two mock residence hall rooms custom-built as a class project by Virginia Western Community College students with the assistance of Virginia Tech’s Myers-Lawson School of Construction.
Each room reflected contemporary designs and building codes and was furnished like typical student rooms, and like many rooms, they will feature elements such as decorations and unapproved curtains that violate existing fire safety rules.
Engineering students from Virginia Tech's student chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers outfitted both rooms with sensors and high-tech cameras.
Read the related article: 'Oak Flame' event to promote fire safety by burning mock residence hall rooms