The dormitory fire that displaced 71 at Dartmouth College was caused by students cooking in the building according to fire officials.

John J. Happel

As you can see, the damage was quite extensive.  The student handbook is quite explicit about what can and cannot be used in a dorm room.


The following list of items are prohibited from the residence halls due to fire codes, State Law and College policy. If these items are found in student rooms possible sanctions, include housing and/or life safety fines and disciplinary action. This list is not exhaustive.

  • 2.4GHz cordless telephones as they interfere with the College's wireless network. 900MHz and 5.8 GHz telephones are permitted in rooms where a VoIP phone is not already provided.
  • Pets of all kinds, except fish in a properly maintained tank of 10 gallons or less.
  • Microwave ovens, toasters, toaster ovens, rice cookers, hot pots or any other appliance with a heating element.
  • Cinder blocks.
  • Electric, propane gas or charcoal grill or fuel.
  • Candles and incense – For fire safety reasons the Office of Residential Life does not allow any type of open flame.
  • Air conditioners.
  • Electric heaters.
  • Weapons – If brought to campus, firearms must be stored at the Department of Safety and Security.
  • Torchier style halogen floor lamps or halogen lamps of 100 watts or more.
  • Any type of loft.
  • Flammable liquids or gases.

While it's been reported that the hibachi wasn't actually IN the dorm room, it was on a flat sill outside the window of the dorm room.  Pretty clever.

Just add charcoal briquettes and combustible fuel, light, walk away and you too can burn something down.