This week, the students who live on floors 7 through 9 of Millennium Hall got a bit of extra “excitement” during their midterms week. A small lighting fixture fire occurred on the ninth floor, causing chaos during one of the most stressful times of the academic term.
The fire caused a fire suppression sprinkler to activate, which led to flooding and severe water damage to the three aforementioned floors, displacing the students living there. Initially, their personal belongings were moved away from the walls so that workers could inspect the damage and start drying the walls and other structural elements. Students ended up having to be relocated for the rest of the term to various empty beds available in other residence halls.
Not all students are thrilled with their new assignments. While there is no way to keep everyone happy in a situation like this, University Housing moved quickly to find new homes for each displaced student. Additionally, students who were moved to traditional residence halls will be prorated and charged the lower rate for that hall.
There is some debate as to if the fire could have been better prevented, but the fact remains that the sprinkler system did its job and everyone is safe.
It’s important to maintain a serious attitude about fire safety on campus. With frequent fire drills and false alarms from cooking accidents, it’s easy to think lightly of these incidents. In general, we as students tend to develop a bad habit of thinking that fire safety precautions are a waste of time given the very low probability of a serious fire emergency occurring. But what we experienced this week should be considered a serious fire emergency, and we should all be thankful that the only long-term consequence was property damage.
We wish the best of luck to the displaced students and hope that this small bit of craziness does not adversely affect their midterm performances. Do not be afraid to use the great wealth of academic and social support services on campus to help you through these challenging circumstances.