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Photo credit: Everyday Health Photo of Hernandez (dressed in all black) at The Watcha! Film Series in honor of Women’s History Month.

OLLU’s core memory

SAN ANTONIO- 14 years ago, on May 6, 2008, Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) students and faculty came together bonded by sadness and love when the main building caught on fire. 

Officials suspected that the fire was the result of arson. However, the San Antonio fire department concluded that the fire was caused by a faulty electrical short on the fourth floor of the main building.

A large amount of water damage occurred in the building after attempts were made to put out the flames.

Despite this unexpected disaster taking the OLLU community by surprise, it proved that the university was protected by a higher power.

“The (Mother Teresa) statue above the Main Building depicts Our Lady of Lourdes, to whom the original Congregation of Divine Providence (CDP) sisters from France were very devoted,” OLLU library archivist, Jason Paul Bourgeois said. “The statue has remained above the Main Building ever since, and it even survived the fire of 2008 despite the flames destroying other parts of the Main Building.”

Within two years of the incident, the main building was completely renovated and opened again to serve as the heart of the campus.

It is argued that this moment in OLLU history may have greater significance than others, as it represents a moment that has shaped the university’s character.

After the fire, OLLU has taken on the responsibility of educating its students and faculty about preventing fires and whom to contact in case of an emergency.

Students are told not to overload electrical circuits as it can result in a fire. Candles, fireworks, incense, open flames and appliances with open heating elements are prohibited on campus.

Students and faculty are to dispose of all waste as soon as possible.

University residents also are advised not to block hallways, stairwells, exits or fire exits in case of a fire outbreak.

University guidelines state that in the event of a fire in a campus building or residence hall,  students and faculty should notify the OLLU Police Department immediately at 210-431-4022, Mon.-Fri. open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by dialing 210-433-0911 or extension 0911 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The San Antonio Fire Department can be reached directly at 911, or 207-7273 for non-emergencies.

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