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Second Fire Reported


Students at Residence Hall Asked to Evacuate Once More

This time the damage was slight, but the cause looks suspicious

(May 21, 2007)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — About 400 students were evacuated during an early-morning fire Monday, May 21 that started in a stairwell at UC Riverside’s Aberdeen and Inverness residence hall. It was extinguished quickly, and no one was injured.

This is the second fire for that residence hall in the past week. This time someone set a cardboard box on fire, said UCR fire marshal Scott Corrin. Two halls of students were evacuated for three hours while fire investigators took evidence. Damage was minor.

Community service officers from the UC Police Department will patrol the halls at night to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary, Corrin said.

Last week, on Thursday, May 17, an equipment malfunction in a lounge kitchen area of B-3 West caused a blaze that took 30 minutes to get under control. It was reported at 3:30 a.m. and 34 fire personnel responded. They used ladders to quickly get seven panicked students down from a third floor outside ledge. Other students were able to evacuate through the hallways and stairways of the building. The fire started in the lounge area of B-3 West. All 40 students from that hall have been relocated to other rooms for the rest of the academic year.

There is no evidence of structural damage to the building, constructed in 1959. The furnishings in the lounge area are a complete loss, said UCR Director of Housing Andy Plumley. He said there is smoke damage in many of the rooms on that hall, and the repair and cleaning will begin as quickly as possible. If major renovations are necessary, it will trigger bringing the building up to new building codes, which will require making bathrooms handicapped accessible, and installing fire sprinklers. There is no firm cost estimate.

In a message to campus faculty, staff and students, Vice Chancellor Al Diaz asked faculty to take into consideration the disruption to student lives.

“I ask that all faculty members consider any accommodations for our residents who have been awake since 3:30 a.m. and have not been allowed into their rooms,” he wrote. “The Counseling Center has been made aware of this incident and is ready to assist any residents in need. If you encounter any residents in need, please advise residents to seek counseling at the Counseling Center.”

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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