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Units respond to possible high-risk fire

Public safety discovered a light haze of smoke through the fourth floor of

Alfred Hall at 10:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, according to deputy fire chief Nicholas Rubino.

According to Rubino, the Saint Vincent and Lloydsville fire departments responded and were concerned with the “possibility of a high-risk large academic building fire.”

Rubino stated that additional units requested to the scene included Youngstown, Latrobe, Bradenville and Pleasant Unity.

Fr. Joseph Adams, O.S.B., director of public safety, said that the concern was over an air handling unit.

“A motor in an air handling unit located above one of the offices had overheated causing the smoke,” Adams said. “The motor was immediately disconnected and the hallway was ventilated to clear any remaining smoke”

Rubino said that no damage occurred to the building.

Personnel from the facilities management office and the fire and security units cleared the scene around midnight, according to Adams.

Samantha Sluger, a senior communication major, was in her room in Aurelius Hall at the time of the incident.

Sluger said she was watching television with her friends when a friend from Rooney Hall texted her asking what was going on.

“I replied with ‘What are you talking about?’ And we looked outside and there were fire trucks and emergency vehicles all over,” Sluger said.

“We walked down the hallway and were in Alfred, right by the elevators, and the lights on the alarms were going off, but there was no sound,” Sluger said. “We were so confused. Then, we went outside and tried to get some idea of what was going on, but nobody knew.”

Billy Vana, a junior history education major, said he was on the third floor of Alfred at the time. He was not asked by safety professionals to leave the building, but he left on his own accord when he heard fire alarms going off.

Although no one was asked to evacuate Aurelius, there were students lined up outside Alfred and Aurelius wondering what was going on, according to Sluger.

“A lot of the prefects who were out there didn't even know what was happening,” Sluger said. “There was just a lot of confusion with all the students out there.”

Sluger said that she was extremely concerned about the incident. She was surprised that she did not receive any notification of the incident as it was happening, given the close proximity between Aurelius and Alfred halls.

“And the next day, nobody talked about it,” Sluger said. “Just an overall strange experience.”

Photos: John Wojtechko

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