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Gerard Hall residents witness 1 a.m. dumpster fire

By John Rogan

On Saturday, Jan. 26 around 1 a.m., a dumpster in Parking Lot N, between Gerard Hall and the Carey Student Center, caught fire, and students around the area were alerted. Despite the immediacy of the response of emergency services, with fire engines arriving on the scene around twenty minutes after the start of the fire, the event still captured the attention of students.

“I didn’t witness the start of the fire and was only notified that it was going on through a text from a friend,” Madison Starliper, a sophomore, said. “I watched the fire from the end-of-the-hall windows on the second floor of Gerry.”

Starliper stated that the fire burned for about three minutes from the time she began watching, until Public Safety showed up.

“They were armed with only a single fire extinguisher, and stayed away from the actual blaze,” Starliper said.

An anonymous senior also recounted his witness of the fire.

“About ten minutes [after Public Safety arrived], one of the volunteer fire fighters showed up in a white pick-up truck to examine things, and five minutes later, an actual fire truck showed up, and they put out the fire,” the senior stated.

Jason Clark, a Bonaventure Hall prefect, stated that he belongs to a group chat with people in the marching band, and that someone sent a video from Gerard Hall of the dumpster burning.

“Then, all of a sudden, a ton of people started sending them,” Clark said. “I looked out my window […] and could see it through the trees.”

Starliper explained that the Saint Vincent Fire Department engine came and two men suited up in firefighters’ gear. The fire was finally put out by a hose from the engine

“It took a good 20 to 25 minutes from the time I started watching the fire for the blaze to be put out,” Starliper stated.

The anonymous senior said that he saw the issue comedically.

“I just thought it was hysterical, because I was pretty sure that it got started by one of the Parkhurst employees from the Shack,” he said.

Concerning any precautions taken personally, the anonymous interviewee said that he did not take drastic action.

“By the time I saw it, one of the prefects had already called [Public Safety]. So, I just watched from the window of Gerry,” he said.

Starliper stated that she stayed and watched the events from the second-floor hall windows of Gerard Hall.

“I knew that Public Safety wouldn’t want us anywhere near the fire and filming so I stayed back,” Starliper said. “I recorded the steps taken to put out the fire on my phone and posted them to Snapchat.”

Clark described the extent of prefects’ responsibilities and actions taken in events such as this.

“Obviously, we aren’t trained for dumpster fires, but they work the same as a normal fire,” he said. “This being outside of a residence hall, however, we would advise people to stay out of the way and let SVFD handle it.”

Starliper expressed uncertainty regarding the way Public Safety responded to the situation, saying that they could have acted more urgently.

“It took almost 30 minutes of the fire burning for the SVFD engine to even show up to the site of the fire,” Starliper stated.

However, Starliper also said that until more is known concerning the fire’s origins, it is hard to discern what Public Safety could have done differently in regard to preventing the fire.

At the time of writing, Public Safety has given no comment publicly or to The Review concerning the Saturday night fire.

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