A fire in a Village C bathroom last week sent smoke into a hallway and student rooms prompting firefighters to respond to campus.

Village C East Hall Director Michael Campbell said that the fire was caused by burning incense left in Steven Sykes’ (MSB ’07) fourth-floor bathroom while Sykes was gone late Dec. 8

Sykes did not respond to repeated attempts to obtain comments for this report.

David Morrell, vice president for university safety, who said that the cause of the fire was either incense or a candle, added that a bathroom towel caught fire and that smoke from the burning towel traveled to other rooms on the floor through the air vent in the bathroom.

Morrell said that a Village C East resident who saw smoke coming out of a vent called the Department of Public Safety. DPS reported the incident to DCFD at 8:20 p.m., DPS Director Darryl Harrison said.

Morrell said that about five DCFD units responded to the fire and surrounded Village C East. He said that, although the fire remained isolated in the bathroom and had burned itself out by the time firemen had located it, their response was a typical one.

“At the time, you don’t know that it’s localized,” Morrell said.

Harrison called the Fire Department’s response “a normal and excellent response for a residential facility.”

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, and officials said that no major damage was reported in Village C East.

“There was just smoke damage,” Harrison said.

Although residents told DPS that they saw and smelled smoke in the building, fire alarms never went off and the building was not evacuated. Morrell said that because the fire was contained in the bathroom, the smoke did not set off the alarm, which is located in the bedroom of the dormitory.

“The fire wasn’t substantial enough,” Campbell said, though he added that he was concerned that the fire alarms didn’t go off.

The lighting of candles or incense in university-owned housing is listed in the student code of conduct as a category B violation, with sanctions ranging from housing probation to academic suspension Campbell said that Sykes’ case is being handled by William Fox, associate director of Residence Life.

Fox could not be reached for comment.

David Scavo (COL ’08), who lives next door to Sykes, said he was not present on the night of the fire, but returned the next morning to find people cleaning Sykes’ room. He said that he could see charred material on the ground near the bathroom.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.