By Samantha Hilyer
Around 12 a.m. on the night of Oct. 25, the fire alarm sounded in Rooney Hall. But the abrupt disturbance was not a drill. During a chilly night, Rooney residents were forced to wait outside of the building while the fire department surveyed an incident in the laundry room.
Alexis Chittum, junior art education major and Rooney Hall resident, reported that the prefects in the building were at the laundry room as other residents were evacuating and one was holding a fire extinguisher.
“Eventually, we were able to go back in and rumor says that someone’s sheets caught on fire,” Chittum said. “I’m not exactly sure what happened.”
According to Mike Hustava, senior director of marketing and communications, there was smoke but no actual flames.
“A belt on one of the dryer motors overheated, causing a burnt rubber smell and a bit of smoke,” Hustava said. “There was not a fire and the bit of smoke had mostly cleared when the fire department responded.”
Even before the incident, the conditions of the laundry room have been bleak, according to E. J. Muriceak, junior management major and Rooney Hall resident. Since the beginning of the semester, Muriceak said, various washers and dryers have not been working as they should. In the three months that have passed during the semester, he has not seen any improvements in the situation of faulty laundry appliances.
“I’ve been going home every weekend to do my laundry,” Muriceak said. “I know of others who have been going to the laundromat to do theirs.”
Having access to working washers and dryers, reported Muriceak, is an essential part of life on campus and is especially important now. Because students are being forced to do their laundry off campus, Muriceak is concerned of an additional risk for COVID-19 transmission on campus.
Issues in the Rooney Hall laundry room are nothing new. A class of 2020 alumnus, Matthew Bohrer, reported that while he was a resident a similar situation happened as well. Several of the appliances, he said, were broken and out of use for significant periods of time, making laundry a frustrating chore to accomplish for residents.