On Tuesday Oct. 6th, a small grease fire broke out in the Norwood suites and displaced 11 residents to other parts of campus.
The Public Safety officer first on the scene, Sean Fields, said that during his many years living in Alfred this was his first campus fire.
The fire started around 5 p.m. and public safety was immediately called to the scene. The Interim Chief of the Public Safety, Jessica Middaugh, along with Officer Sean Fields immediately ran up the steps with their fire extinguishers to get to the flames while thick dark smoke continued to pour out of vents as students watched, patiently waiting for the officers to extinguish the flames. Eventually, Middaugh and Field came out of the building gasping for oxygen, but thankfully unscorched.
Shortly after, the fire department arrived to further investigate the damage and to secure the premises. Students were then told by the fire department officials to plan on finding somewhere else to stay for the night based on the damage caused by the sprinklers being activated. The electricity was cut off to prevent further damage to the building.
“I was angry at the person who started the fire at first, but I was also glad that everyone got out and was safe,” said Naya Brown, a third-year criminal justice major.
Unfortunately there are a number of students who were severely inconvenienced by this event in more ways than one. 11 residents were forced to pack up all their belongings and relocate to a new room on campus, in addition to being confined in spaces much smaller than the Norwood suites. As you may know, there are places designated on campus to only house students diagnosed with COVID-19 and others who were in contact. In order to continue the social distancing requirements, it may be a hassle to find housing for those residents without being an inconvenience.
Resident Life staff already have a lot on their plate. Surely, the person who caused the fire must regret their actions and learned a lesson for a lifetime and most of all, relieved that no one was hurt. President Zupan said it best, “Thank you to those who assisted in the incident. A special thanks to the public safety officer and her colleagues. And all the firemen, and every one of the faculty members who assured the safety and well-being of the students, all while in the middle of a pandemic. Their work doesn’t stop because of a pandemic or because of political/ social tensions. Our emergency civil service workers risk their lives all over the country to protect us from incidents like this and we should not let a moment like this pass without thanking them for their service.”
By Balynda Ali