Caroline Wilkerson ~ Copy Editor
On Feb. 25th, at approximately 11:15 a.m., fire alarms went off in University of Lynchburg’s Hobbs-Sigler Hall.
It was reported by campus security at 12:12 p.m. that, “the fire seems to be isolated to piece of equipment located on the first floor. Fire department personnel are currently ventilating the building to remove the smoke. Please still avoid the area until Fire Department Personnel have cleared the scene.”
Again at 12:46 p.m., campus security reported, “ALL CLEAR! The emergency has passed. All classes in Hobbs-Sigler Hall have been canceled until 3 p.m. today.”
Senior, Kate Parker, who was in the building at the time of the fire, said, “We were sitting in class and all of a sudden the fire alarm started to go off and all of the doors shut. At first, we did not think much of it. Sometimes the fire alarm goes off for electrical malfunctions or other reasons. However, when we began to leave the building, we smelled smoke and knew that it was definitely not a fire drill. I was not too scared…I was more happy that I got out of chemistry early.”
While junior Elena Ferguson, who was a witness on the scene, said, “Although I was not in the building at the time of the fire, I was walking to class and was absolutely shocked by the amount of firetrucks and students standing outside. I had never seen a fire on campus, and I found it especially scary that it was the science building where there are a lot of different things that are flammable.”
Within about ten minutes of the fire alarms going off, all students, faculty, and staff had evacuated the building, and about seven firetrucks had arrived to resolve the issue.
According to the University of Lynchburg website, “Prior to 2010, the University of Lynchburg did not conduct fire drills in student residential facilities or other buildings. Although no supervised fire drills were conducted in 2009, multiple fire alarm activations occurred in residential facilities due to non-emergency circumstances such as cooking, steam from showers, aerosol sprays used too close to smoke detectors…Beginning in August 2010, Campus Safety and Security will conduct random, unannounced fire evacuation drills.”
The University of Lynchburg also has a fire evacuation policy. “In every campus building, evacuation procedures are posted, and fire exits are marked. Evacuation maps are posted in the residence halls. Some things to remember during evacuation according to the policy include, ‘activate the fire alarm system, leave the building immediately, and if you cannot leave the room, stop the smoke from coming in by sealing cracks with tape, clothes, towels, etc.”
This protocol was mostly followed during the Hobbs-Sigler evacuation.