Village C East and West were evacuated early Saturday morning after reports of smoke. The cause is undetermined and still under investigation.
“Basically Saturday morning at approximately 2:50 a.m., we received alarm activity from the Village C complex,” said Darryl Harrison, interim director of the Department of Public Safety. “We observed smoke on the eighth floor of Village C East and an odor of smoke.”
University Facilities and the D.C. Fire Department were dispatched to the scene and together with DPS they inspected the building but the source of the smoke could not be determined, Harrison said.
Although the incident occurred in Village C East Residence Hall, Village C West was evacuated as well due to safety concerns.
Residents were allowed back into the buildings 15 minutes after the evacuations occurred.
Although students were grateful for the quick response and evacuation, many were left wondering what had occurred.
Some students were already on edge because of a broadcast e-mail sent by university administration late Friday morning which warned of “the possibility of a threat . against unspecified schools in Washington, D.C.”
“I think there was an electrical fire because of the smell,” said Robert Rose (SFS ’07), a resident of Village C East. “It smelled terrible.”
Erin Neel (SFS ’07) was one of the first people to notice the smoke and her friend was the first person to pull the fire alarm.
“I was in my room with a friend visiting from another college. We were talking and I smelled something. I stood up and walked out the door and saw smoke everywhere,” she said. “He grabbed his shoes and just pulled the alarm.”
According to Harrison, prompt DPS response to similar incidents may be hampered if there continue to be false alarms around campus.
There were false alarms in Henle Village and New South among other locations over the weekend. Additionally, there was a report of an inappropriately discharged fire extinguisher.
The only legitimate alarms were in Village C as well as in O’Donovan Dining Hall Saturday night.
The O’Donovan Dining Hall incident was caused by the mixing of water and grease which set off the sprinkler system, Harrison said.