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Dryer ignites in Towers Hall, causing evacuation

Updated: Apr 8

Maddison Behringer / THE GATEPOST

By Dylan Pichnarcik

Asst. News Editor 

The fire alarms in Corinne Hall Towers were activated due to a resident's clothing igniting in one of the dryers in the laundry room on Monday, April 1.

Residents were evacuated shortly after, according to a report by the Framingham Fire Department (FFD).

According to the University Police report, University Police Officer Kelvis Nako was the first to arrive on scene, followed by Sergeant Robert Barrette. 

Lieutenant Matthew Brown was the officer in charge of the FFD unit dispatched to campus. 

After the building was evacuated, students were directed into Hemenway Hall for the duration of the emergency, the University Police report said. 

According to the FFD report, the cause of the fire was either an overheated motor or the unit being overloaded by a resident. The exact cause has yet to be determined. 

Brown’s report stated that smoke had filled the laundry room and was circulating throughout the building up to the 11th floor.

He said smoke circulated throughout the building because of an open door on the third floor. The report did not identify which door was not closed. 

FFD extinguished the flames, which were contained to the dryer unit. FFD then removed the clothing from the dryer and soaked it with water outside the building, according to Brown’s report.

Two ambulances were also on scene to assist two students.

According to the FFD report, two students who “had leg injuries that occurred during evacuation” were transported to the hospital. 

According to the University’s police report, however, the students did not sustain injuries from the evacuation. Rather, the injuries were from playing basketball. 

The students were issued taxi vouchers to return to campus from the hospital, according to the  University Police report.

At the time of the incident, David Case was the resident director on duty and handled directing students in and out of the building during the initial evacuation and subsequent return to the building.

Drew Hendrigan, a resident of Towers interviewed at the time of the incident, reported seeing “a girl limping down the hallway [during the evacuation]. Now, she is in the ambulance.” 

After the flames were extinguished, FFD began ventilating the building and resetting the fire alarms and elevators, according to both University Police and FFD.

Oak Blum, a Towers resident, said, “It smelled a bit like an electrical fire. I’m a little worried about that because of all the rundown stuff in Towers in general.”

Alexis Davin, a Towers resident, said, “I was in my bed and I was freaked out because I started smelling smoke. I was scared at first when I saw the smoke in the laundry room.” 

According to Glenn Cochran, director of residence life and housing, residents should “make sure the lint traps are clear. … There’s a list of things you shouldn’t put in dryers,” he added. “Things like rubber content and lighters. … If gasoline spills on clothes, do not put them in the dryer.” 

Cochran said he does not fault any student for the fire and there would be no additional cost to residents to replace the dryer.

According to Cochran, the washers and dryers in all of the residence halls on campus are maintained by CSC Service Works, a coin-operated laundry equipment supplies company based in New York.  

According to Dan Giard, director of facilities,  CSC’s role is to maintain the machines throughout the year and provide servicing in the event of a damaged washer or dryer when a service request is placed by Residence Life.

Cochran said, “In our case, the vents were cleaned professionally in December. Usually, it's once a year.” 

Since FSU holds a license with a private company to maintain the machines, they are not maintained by Facilities, according to Giard.

He said, “We don’t have much to do with the dryers and washers because they are leased. They annually clean all the ductwork, so we don’t even handle that.”

According to Giard, the only role Facilities played was removing the burnt unit the following day. He was notified Monday night and “stayed tuned” for what work he and his staff would have to perform. After the removal of the dryer, maintainers cleaned the laundry room.

Giard said if he received a call from CSC, he would refer them to Residence Life to handle all issues related to the laundry machines. 

Resident assistants will work to remove all door stoppers so in the event of another fire, smoke will not circulate throughout the building, Cochran said. 

Some buildings on campus have magnetic door stoppers that will close in the event a fire alarm is triggered. However, when door stoppers are placed in front of doors, they are unable to close, which can cause smoke to travel, according to Cochran. 

FFD was on scene with eight vehicles, including two ambulances, for approximately one hour and twenty-two minutes. Residents returned to Towers prior to their departure.



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