Second Fire in Two Days

9 years 9 months 1 week ago April 19, 2007 Apr 19, 2007 Thursday, April 19 2007 Thursday, April 19, 2007 1:06:14 AM CDT in News
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When MU student David Francis smelled smoke and gas Tuesday night in the Gillett and Hudson residence halls, he knew something was wrong.

"And then the fire alarm went off and we all had to evacuate," Francis said.

"We were pretty scared when we came downstairs."

A malfunctioning transformer started an electrical fire, and the evacuation landed around 900 people in the streets around the residence halls. The residence halls house Rollins dining, along with student rooms.

"A bunch of fire trucks came and ambulances and they were all inside looking for people," Francis said of the fire department's response.

The buildings were reopened around 1:30 a.m. Last night was the second fire on the MU campus in just two days.  Fire officials say despite the back-to-back calls, response was top-notch.

"We work very well with the university and glad that their staff was so helpful to us," said Columbia Fire Department's Debbie Sorrell.

Because the calls were so close together, no two firefighters fought both blazes.  Fire crews say that helped them deal with all the students.

"Students is the biggest thing because there's so many," Sorrell said.

Today, students had to deal with more inconvenience when crews worked to put in protective fuses to prevent the kind of fire that happened last night. That meant no power for three hours, and the cafeteria was closed.

These two examples this week are why fire officials say it's always important to listen to your fire alarm.

"That's your early warning. That's your chance to get out before the emergency traps you inside," said Sorrell. 

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