False alarms lead to three student suspensions
Three students have been suspended from the university pending disciplinary action in connection with the false fire alarm pulls on March 1 in Xavier Hall and Boland Hall, and other charges are pending with other individuals, according to the March 4 broadcast e-mail titled “Resolution to Malicious Fire Alarm Incidents” sent to all students.
“The South Orange Police Department, The Department of Public Safety and Security and Community Development conducted an aggressive investigation into these incidents that determined that the false alarms were related to a burglary attempt on a student residence,” the e-mail released to students said.
Captain Kyle Kroll of the South Orange Police Department said that the case is still under investigation and no official police report has been written yet. He declined to release any student names because of the ongoing investigation.
The fire alarms were activated at 7:47 p.m. in Xavier Hall and 9:21 p.m. on the third floor of Boland Hall.
“After we evacuated the building and the South Orange Fire Department went in to investigate is when we found out the alarm did not have an actual cause,” Yosayra Eusebio, Residence Hall Director of Xavier Hall, said in an e-mail interview. “At that point the fire department determined it may have been intentional.”
Sarah DiBiase, Residence Hall Director of Boland Hall, said in an e-mail interview that the Public Safety Supervisor and two Boland Hall professional staff members were present at the scene of the Boland fire alarm.
“The on-call professional Housing and Residence Life staff member was notified that a pull station was intentionally activated once the South Orange Fire Department finished responding and investigating the sounding Boland Hall alarm,” DiBiase said.
The March 4 e-mail sent to students stated that any tampering with fire systems will be “aggressively investigated and the parties involved will be held responsible to the full extent of the law and the university disciplinary process.”
Eusebio said given the university’s history with the Boland Hall fire, Seton Hall has implemented policies and procedures to ensure that this would not happen again.
“We educate our students on the importance of fire safety from the first day they step foot into our residence halls,” Eusebio said. “Each resident student is given a Fire Safety Booklet which was created by Housing and Residence Life as well as the South Orange Fire department which illustrates the rationale, regulations and resources in regards to fire safety in the residence hall. We treat every fire alarm like the real thing and obviously these incidents were taken very seriously. It is important our students know that tampering with fire safety equipment is unacceptable.”
DiBiase added that any time a malicious alarm is pulled it puts the Seton Hall and South Orange communities in danger.
“The amount of time and effort it takes to facilitate our fire alarm protocol and evacuation which includes assistance from Public Safety and Security as well as the South Orange Fire Department is not small and diverts those resources from helping people that truly need it,” DiBiase said. “These incidents will not be tolerated and it is something that is taken very seriously.”
Brittany Biesiada can be reached at at firstname.lastname@example.org.