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University looking to increase laundry room signage following East Akers fire

December 9, 2022
<p>Akers Hall on MSU&#x27;s campus. Shot on July 15th, 2021.</p>

Akers Hall on MSU's campus. Shot on July 15th, 2021.

Photo by State News File Photo | The State News

There was a reported fire in the laundry room of East Akers Hall at 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 7. Students were evacuated immediately and the building was cleared. 

Bethany Balks, associate director for communications for the Residence Education and Housing Services, said the East Lansing Fire Department responded initially. Now, the Infrastructure Planning and Facilities team is working on the cleanup and assessing the repair processes for the laundry room.

Students living in the building said they could smell smoke coming all the way from the basement and woke up to fire alarms blaring. Once the students safely made it down to the parking lot, they had to wait until the fire department cleared the building.

“Maybe an hour and 30 just waiting for it to be cleared to go back in the building,"  marketing freshman Joseph Dann said.

As of right now, the East Akers laundry room is currently closed but the West Akers side is open for residents to use while the university continues to keep up routine maintenance checks.

Balka said MSU is making it a priority to inform students on how to use the machines and make sure the residents are being kept as safe as possible. 

“We take building safety and fire safety concerns really seriously and we definitely do not want to have continued laundry room issues,”  Balks said. “So our facilities team provides the routine maintenance and upkeep of the machines, but they do contract with outside vendors to provide additional maintenance. So they've been engaging with the vendor who owns the machines to check on all the machines' viability and efficiency."

She also said the facilities team is looking at updating laundry machine models as needed and is closing models it determines are not working properly.

Some students said they struggle to operate the current machines.

“There's no like information or written information on how to use it," exploratory freshman Annaliese Boglione said. "I think you just kind of have to know how to."

Balks said MSU will ensure there are more signs about how to use the machines to prevent this from happening in the future.

“We want to make sure residents have the best information on how to operate these machines because they are commercial laundry machines," Balks said. "Sometimes students may not realize they need to check a tag for if something can go in the dryer or they may be used to being able to fill up machines more at home than they can in here."

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