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Overloaded dryer causes fire in West Wilson Hall laundry room

September 27, 2023
The burnt drying machine that caused a fire at Wilson Hall on Sept. 27, 2023
The burnt drying machine that caused a fire at Wilson Hall on Sept. 27, 2023 —
Photo by Sonya Barlow | The State News

At around 4 p.m. today, a fire was reported in the laundry room of West Wilson Hall, causing two fire trucks and cops to appear at the scene. The fire alarm went off and students were evacuated from the building.

Associate director for communications for the Residence Education and Housing Services Bethany Balks said no injuries were reported.

 "Our team, luckily, was quick to react, quick to respond," Balks said. "We worked with the fire department, as well as our IPS and cleanup teams to take care of that as quickly as we could."

Balks said the fire was caused by an overloaded dryer that was "too full of items." 

"We do try to educate residents as much as possible with signage in the laundry rooms, as well as other communications (that) let them know kind of what the commercial dryers can handle," Balks said. "I don't have all the details on it, but I would assume that the clothes did not make it through that dryer cycle."

According to an email blast sent to Wilson residents by Residence Hall Director Gregory Morgan, the West Wilson laundry room is temporarily closed until further notice.

“Please use the East Wilson laundry room for the time being,” Morgan said in the email. “We will notify you when the West side opens.”

Balks said the West Wilson laundry room will undergo cleaning this evening and that she is hopeful it will reopen sometime tomorrow.

Civil engineering freshman Aria Funston was in her dorm room on the fifth floor for a half hour after the fire alarm went off. At first, she thought that it was a drill or accident

“I was like, ‘oh who clicked that,’ so then I closed my door and sat back down,” Funston said. “[Then] all my friends told me to get my booty outside.”

Mechanical engineering freshman Haley Schultz evacuated the building immediately.

“Since I was right by the door, I wasn’t scared,” Schultz said

sb_wilsonfire_092723_5.jpg
The maintenance crew put the clothes from the burnt drying machine into a bin after the fire at Wilson Hall on Sept. 27, 2023.

Computer science freshman Lisa Wu said she thought the alarm was the sound of a vacuum on the floor above her. Wu continued doing her homework for five more minutes until she went outside and smelled smoke

“I was completely taken by surprise,” Wu said. “I hope it gets solved soon.”

Computer science freshman Carter Lynn said he saw firefighters entering the West Wilson basement and went to check it out

"When I came down and saw the smoke, I'm like, 'oh man, there's a fire down there,'" Lynn said.

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