Fire On Campus: No It Was Not About Donald Trump

In the midst of all the anger and internal emotions that have come as a result of this post-election news cycle, it's great to know our campus’ Public Safety Department has our back.

Last week a white car parked inside Parking Lot 8 near Salazar Hall was reported to be on fire. Students who commented on the Facebook group “CSULA Book exchange” were there to cover the event by posting pictures and videos, demonstrating Public Safety’s urgent reactiveness to the flames.

The local Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) came to put out the fire and make sure there was no further damage.

Since President-Elect Donald Trump won the 2016 election there have been protests nationwide across major U.S. cities and college campuses demonstrating their opposition to his victory. Multiple news and social media sites have reported vandalism and fires from the civil disobedience of anti-Trump protesters.  

The fire within Parking Lot Structure 8 expressed concerns by numerous students thinking this was an act of rioting against Trump supporters, since the blaze occurred on the same day as a peaceful anti-Trump protest on campus.

TVF major Oscar Alanis thought it as an attack against Trump supporters. “Supposedly, there was a Trump sticker on the back of the car. That's what I overheard by some people in my class,” said Alanis.

However, the noted Trump sticker rumor seemed to have originated online with no supporting evidence. The conspiracy  stems from the fire coincidentally occurring a day after nationwide protests against Trump took place.  

Robert Lopez, Executive Director for Communications and Public Affairs said the fire was under control. “The preliminary fire within parking structure 8 was caused by a portable battery charger with no results of students, faculty or staff getting injured. However, there is a report of one campus Public Safety officer being hospitalized for the excessive smoke insulation he inhaled. He is being treated and is safe and uninjured,” said Lopez.

However, student Brian Meen wrote on the Cal State LA Book Exchange forum that the fire started differently. “Apparently he had some flammable stuff in the trunk and accidentally caught on fire. Some people are saying he had an external battery that was leaking.”

Despite the considerable size of the fire, no damage was dealt to the surrounding area. The occurrence of the blaze demonstrates Public Safety's effective communication and collaboration skills to contact local fire departments when in need of assistance.