Electrical fire leads to flooding, temporary housing

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Picture of flooded room on the first floor of Ruef Hall. (Photo by Claire Grunewald ’20)

Alex Doe

Twenty Ruef Hall residents have been reassigned to new dorms after the sprinkler system went off and flooded their rooms. The cause of the alarm was a small electrical fire in the first floor women’s bathroom, according to Director of Residence Life Grace Reynolds.

There were no injuries over the course of the morning, and the college plans to fully repair residence hall by the end of the weekend.

Photo of first floor of Ruef Hall. (Photo by Claire Grunewald '20)
Photo of first floor of Ruef Hall. (Photo by Claire Grunewald ’20)

“The sprinklers did their job and put out the fire,” Ruef resident Rahul Padmasola ‘20 said. “We didn’t really know what was happening, everyone was just waiting downstairs. But because it was cold outside, everyone just huddled in Marquis for an hour, then went back to bed.”

But not everyone could return to a room untouched.

“My room had some water in it after we came back,” Olivia Resnick ‘20 said.  “A lot of it covered my backpack and notebooks. Other people even had a couple inches. A good chunk of the girls on that are on our floor had to move for the weekend.”

“I’d rather have some wet clothing than be burnt,” she added.

According to an email Reynolds sent out, “The sprinkler and alarm systems functioned exactly as they are designed to do.”

The email continued to describe the cause of the electrical fire as nothing more than an anomaly.

“The fire was caused by a malfunction in a fluorescent light fixture – an extremely unusual occurrence – and was extinguished by the sprinkler,” she wrote.