Housing and Residence Life (HRL) confirmed Friday that a damaged sprinkler head was the cause of a fire alarm that forced the residents of Aquinas Hall to evacuate at 9:25 Thursday night.
The sprinkler head sprayed dark oil and water, which flowed through floors and down walls from the second floor to the first, causing “very little damage,” according to HRL.
“It’s water, but it becomes stagnant as it sits in the pipes until a fire would cause it to be released, so years of sitting there in the pipes makes it black,” Assistant Director for Programming and Student Development with HRL Joshua Reda said. “It’s very common in all sprinkler systems across the country.”
The incident began in a trash room on the 2nd floor, where a student broke the sprinkler head in an attempt to discard a large box used for move-in, according to the Aquinas Hall Fire Alarm Report from Hall Director April Jenkins.
According to Jenkins’ report, six rooms were impacted by the water and oil. Eight students were given temporary places to stay but were cleared to return to their rooms on Friday morning.
The South Orange Fire Department determined that it was safe to re-enter the building, according to Jenkins.
According to the incident report, most students evacuated within the desired three minutes of the incident, but one student remained in the building for seven minutes.
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