Dean of Students Office responds to Lakelawn fire

Sept. 11, 2013

by Susannah Brooks

After a structural fire in the Langdon St. neighborhood caused an estimated $125,000 in damage, the University of Wisconsin-Madison community is reaching out to assist those displaced by the fire.

All residents of the Lothlorien Co-op, 244 W. Lakelawn Place, escaped the early Wednesday morning fire without injury. Approximately 25 students, along with several non-students, will not be able to reenter the building to retrieve belongings until damage assessments have been completed.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Madison Fire Department. Significant fire and water damage occurred to the top floors of the four-story building; there is no estimate for when the residents might be able to once again reside in the co-op.

Lori Berquam, UW-Madison’s dean of students, traveled to the scene in the early morning hours after receiving notification from MFD. Staff from Berquam’s office are assisting the students by granting crisis loans and making contact with professors, as well as securing temporary housing, if needed. The American Red Cross is assisting all residents, including non-students, with immediate temporary housing and personal needs.

“There is no easy time for a disruption of this magnitude to occur in someone’s life,” says Berquam. “We are profoundly grateful that no one was injured, and we offer our strength and support to those affected in this difficult time.”

Berquam praised the quick response of the Madison Fire Department – five minutes after the call came in at 1:13 a.m. – and the assistance of additional safety personnel.

Several resources are available to students who have been impacted by the fire:

  • Impacted students: If you lived in the Madison Community Co-op and need assistance with crisis loans, housing, books or any other help, call the Dean of Students’ Office (DoSO) at (608) 263-5700 and ask for the Dean On Call.
  • Counseling: If you are interested in receiving counseling services related to this or any other situation, call Counseling and Consultation Services at (608) 265-5600.
  • For parents: Parents of affected students can call DoSO at (608) 263-5700 and ask for the Dean On Call. For general information, visit the Parent Program Web site.
  • Contributions: The Dean of Students Crisis Fund assists students whose lives are disrupted by unexpected events. Donations are accepted online or by calling DoSO at (608) 263-5700. Alternately, assist the American Red Cross Badger Chapter by contributing to its Disaster Relief Fund. Click on “Donate Funds” or call (877) 618-6628 for more information.

The Madison Fire Department encourages everyone to remember these fire prevention tips:

  • Ensure smoke alarms are on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and outside each bedroom. Contact your landlord if smoke alarms aren't present or operating.
  • Test your smoke alarms every month.
  • Make an escape plan
  • When the alarm sounds, get out and stay out.
  • After you have escaped, call 9-1-1 from a safe place.
  • Never go back inside the building for any reason.