Administration assists fire victims

The fire left extensive smoke and water damage to the student’s home. Photo by Kate DeSalvo

Chapman is providing housing, food and textbooks to the nine students who fell victim to the fire on 390 N. Shaffer St. Nov. 10.

The fire left extensive smoke and water damage to the rented house but did not burn it down entirely. The cause of the fire is still pending investigation by the Orange Fire Department.

“When an emergency arises, our main focus is to try to help stabilize the students’ most immediate needs, specifically their classes and academics, housing and food,” wrote Dean Jerry Price, vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students.

Chancellor Daniele Struppa said a few of the students were able to stay in a university-owned house managed by Struppa’s office. The house is typically used to accommodate visitors of the university. Three students were housed in an Ayres Hotel suite paid for by Chapman.

“I told Dean Price to do everything we could to help, but I am not sure of the extent of what was necessary,” Struppa wrote in an email.

Price wrote in an email that in addition to temporary housing, the university has given the students free temporary access to the Randall Dining Commons, sent an email to their professors informing them of their situation and arranged for loaner textbooks when needed.

“Not all of this assistance was needed by each of the students,” Price wrote. “Each student’s circumstance was different, so most only needed assistance in one or two areas and not others.”

Price wrote that the university has ongoing relationships with local hotels so it is not uncommon for Chapman to help house students on a short-term basis when an emergency arises affecting their housing or to get them access to the dining hall if they find themselves without food.

Fire damage ruins the outdoor patio roof of nine Chapman students’ home. Photo by Kate DeSalvo

Price and Struppa declined to comment on the amount of money Chapman invested to help these students recover.

“I will say that this situation is somewhat atypical in that it has directly affected so many students,” Price wrote. “Usually the emergencies with which we’re involved tend to affect only one or two students at a time.”

Price wrote that students get housed in hotels several times each year when unexpected emergencies arise.

“These typically include some type of facility complication in the residence halls (flood, leak, etc.), or a situation in which a student feels unsafe in their current residence (usually as a result of an incidence of harassment or assault),” Price wrote.

Price wrote that there is no standard procedure for these situations because each is so unique, causing students’ needs to be different.

The students involved in the fire declined to comment.

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