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Steam triggers fire alarm

in NEWS by

By Hannah Gordon

News Editor

Students in the Shay and Loughlen residence halls experienced a fire alarm around 4 a.m. due to a similar steam release that happened in Devereux Hall last month and resulted in evacuation.

Although residents were not officially evacuated, the associate vice president for facilities, Phil Winger, said the steam event was caused by a failure of a pressure-regulating valve, which required that the safety valve operate.

“That is an example of safety equipment doing its job,” Winger said.

In the Devereux Hall incident, a resident assistant pulled the manual fire alarm after being instructed by the residence director to do so, Ralph Aloia said, Safety and Security’s fire and life officer.

In the most recent incident, the alarm was set off by a smoke detector activated in the pipe room where relief valve pipes are located in the basement, Aloia said.

“The (Devereux) alarm was inevitable anyway as just a few more minutes would have surely activated the building smoke heads,” Aloia said.

Michelle Vick, a sophomore Spanish major, expressed concern about student knowledge of safety incidents.

“In the moment, (Security) did well,” Vick said. “They got us out quickly and back in fairly quickly, but they did not follow up with the students and tell us what actually happened.  We had to evacuate and there was clearly something wrong with the building—there was steam pouring out of it.  This is the place that I am living.  I want to know if everything is safe.”

Winger said the steam releases are a regular occurrence.

“These steam releases have happened before, but the fire alarm thing is a new phenomenon,” Winger said.

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