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Fire In San Jose State Dormitory Injures At Least 21

October 19, 1990

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Fire in a San Jose State University dormitory this morning injured at least 21 students, including two who were critically burned and another who suffered a broken back jumping out a window, authorities said.

The fire at Andrew Moulder Hall in downtown San Jose was reported shortly before 6 a.m. and put out within an hour, said Teresa Zagalo, a dispatcher with the San Jose Fire Department.

″I opened the door, and fumes and smoke entered the room, and people started shouting ‘Fire 3/8 Fire 3/8’ It was very wild,″ said Jorg Stoka, a German exchange student who lives on the second floor of the three-story brick dormitory.

The fire department listed 23 injured, but three hospitals reported treating 21, including two students who were listed in critical condition and four others in serious condition, authorities said.

The cause of the blaze remained unknown but it was believed to have started on the third floor of the dormitory’s east wing, said Richard Staley, spokesman for the university’s Department of Public Safety. The state fire marshal was handling the investigation, he said.

The coed dormitory housed about 160 students, authorities said. Many fled in their bathrobes and had no time to grab any possessions.

″You just get out of there. You don’t think,″ said junior Jana Garrett.

The university, which has an enrollment of 31,000, moved Moulder Hall students to vacant rooms at nearby dormitories and sent counselors to the hospitals, Staley said. Officials also set up a hotline for families and friends to check on students.

Three male students were taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where two were in critical condition with burns on 40 percent to 55 percent of their bodies, said Chris Reilly, a nurse recruiter at the hospital.

A third student had burns over 5 percent of his body and was listed in serious condition, she said.

Ten students were taken to San Jose Medical Center, where three were in serious condition, one with a broken back suffered when he jumped from a third-story room, hospital officials said. Seven others were being treated for smoke inhalation and minor injuries.

Eight students were taken to Alexian Brothers Hospital. Six had been released, and two were still being treated in the emergency room at midmorning, said spokeswoman Nancy Manalo.

The status of the two other students that the fire department had listed as injured was not immediately known.

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