|Fire in Milner angers, displaces students|
|Written by Andew Steckling, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Wednesday, 30 September 2009 15:06|
Milner Library closed its doors to the public six hours early Tuesday evening, after a fire in a second floor bathroom set off the building’s alarms.
The official report released by the Normal Fire Department stated that a paper towel in a garbage can was set on fire, but no structural damage resulted from the small blaze.
Originally, students were told the library would remain closed for an hour to give the building a chance to air out, but after 25 minutes of waiting, the decision was made to keep the library shut down for the remainder of the evening.
Beth Schobernd, associate dean for technical services and facilities, made the decision to keep the building closed last night. She said numerous factors influenced her decision to close, but the most prominent was that of students’ safety.
“When I made the decision last night, there was still quite a bit of smoke on the second floor and it wasn’t clear whether or not firefighters were going to be able to clear it out in time,” she said.
“I realize we were pretty packed last night, and it’s unfortunate that we had to close, but it was for the right reasons.”
The alarm rang through the building’s six floors around 8 p.m., confusing many inside. Joe Amedeo, junior physics major, was in the library catching up on some material for a class, and said he did not even know the alarm was going off until an employee of the library notified him to leave.
“It kind of upset me. I was just getting into the zone,” he said. “I’m sure I can speak on behalf of the students displaced in that we were all pretty upset of the news, as well as the intention to start a fire in the first place.”
Other students displaced by the fire appeared notably upset. Many seeked shelter and continued their studies in the Bone Student Center’s Prairie Room.
The majority who faced the colder temperatures outdoors kept themselves warm for the time being with coffee cups and multiple layers of clothing, but the talk that was on everyone’s mind was the disbelief that someone started a fire.
Schobernd said a few students expressed their opinions to library personnel, but after being informed of the situation, they seemed pretty comfortable with the intention of keeping the building closed.
Soon after the announcement, employees organized a floor-by-floor recovery, allowing students who left personal belongings inside the opportunity to go back in and retrieve their things.
Milner reopened its doors to the public Wednesday at 7 a.m.