On Saturday, Nov. 7, a fire in Larson Hall caused significant smoke damage and triggered two fire alarms, prompting the entire hall to evacuate. The exact cause of the fire, which happened in room 402, has not been determined at this time. The fire is believed to be an accident, and students will not face disciplinary action.
According to Director of Public Safety Fred C. Behr, the fire was confined to a small trash can in the corner of the room and scorched the bottom of the curtains. The curtains did not ignite, as they were treated with a fire retardant spray. The damage is mostly from smoke – the entire contents of the room will need to be professionally cleaned or replaced. The room will need to be sanitized and re-painted before it can be lived in, which should happen by Friday, Nov. 13.
The fire was discovered when two students walking towards Larson Hall noticed a flickering light in the window. One called Public Safety, while the other pulled the fire alarm.
Public Safety located the room, but there was no smell of smoke, according to Behr. The officer unlocked the door and discovered the room filled with smoke. The officer radioed the location of the fire and began fighting it with a fire extinguisher from a maintenance closet. Another officer responded and assisted. Because of the heavy smoke and the chemicals from the extinguisher inside the room, the officers had to leave and re-enter the room several times until they were sure the fire was out. During this time, the Area Coordinator and another officer cleared the floor and building, moving people outside.
The Northfield Fire Department arrived and ensured the fire was out. They cleared the room and students were allowed to re-enter the building. The Northfield Police and an ambulance were also on scene.
Both Public Safety officers fighting the fire were treated at the Northfield Hospital for smoke inhalation. The initial officer was taken by ambulance.