Shortly before 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 5, a fire was discovered in Room 430 of Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls. Fire trucks were called and the building was evacuated for almost three hours.

“The cause [of the fire] is as yet unknown,” Rochester City Fire Marshal Dan McBride said.

Later, Director of Residential Life Logan Hazen explained, “It appears to be not an obvious source like a cigarette or a candle. The room wasn’t occupied at the time, so it’s harder to tell. We haven’t found any electrical or mechanical malfunctions that happened before the fire began.”

“We were very fortunate,” McBride said. “There was a very minimum amount of smoke. The contents of the room were charred and some were badly damaged, but the damage from the fire was limited to the room itself.”

“A student smelled smoke, so she got a [Residential Adviser] from elsewhere on the floor. That RA determined there really was a fire, so she pulled the fire alarm and the building mechanic went up to check it out,” Hazen said.

The building was evacuated quickly, according to Hazen, except for a single student who did not realize the alarms were genuine. Sue B. houses 630 students, and it is estimated that as many as 300 were in the building when it was evacuated. By the time the fire trucks arrived, the building was already empty.

Even so, a fire in such a large residence hall was very disruptive. “I was asleep when I heard the alarm go off. At first I thought it was just an alarm clock,” freshman Sandra Gliga said.

The fire itself was extinguished quickly and never spread out of Room 430. Hazen expressed relief that the fire was so minor.

“You get structural plans for these things, but we never know. This time, we were lucky,” Hazen said. “If the door had been open, we would have had a lot more damage – knock on wood.”

The only damage outside the room was to the fire alarm and smoke detector which were disabled throughout parts of the fourth floor.

Since Sue B. is a high-rise, the incident was automatically treated as a two-alarm fire.

Six fire trucks were brought in, which stretched to the ITS Center.

Students were allowed back into most of the building by 1:30 p.m. with the exception of the fourth floor. These students were not allowed to return until the alarm systems were repaired and the smoke was cleared. Students were allowed to go to their rooms to collect essentials or change clothes.

“We couldn’t return to our rooms until around six,” David Hull, RA on the fourth floor of Sue B., where the fire happened, said.

The residents of the fourth floor have been very helpful to the students whose room was burned.

“The floor is really coming around these guys and supporting them,” Hazen said. Most of their personal possessions were destroyed, so their hallmates have given or loaned them essential items.

Levesque can be reached at clevesque@campustimes.org.



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