Fire Threatens Midnight Breakfast

By Will Hewitt
Elm Staff Writer
The fire alarms were triggered in Washington College’s dining hall Saturday, Feb. 25 at 4:50 p.m. Smoke was first seen pouring out of the HVAC vents, which caused a Dining Services staff member to pull the alarm, evacuating the building.
The Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company was first to arrive on the scene. Deputy Chief John Darling was among the responders.
Deputy Chief Darling and his team were originally dispatched due to a call, finding displaced students and workers at the scene.
The smoke, Deputy Chief  Darling said, “ended up being in the vent system in the roof that had grease trapped from fire and was smoking, which pulled back in through the HVAC system and throughout the building.”
Initially, the faculty and students not present at the scene were  confused. Students residing in the Cullen dormitory watched Washington Avenue flood with emergency response vehicles. Students were forced to evacuate the building for fear of a gas leak.
Drake Harrison, freshman, was eating dinner when the alarm went off.
“They told us it wasn’t a drill,” Harrison said. “The alarm came on and basically said we had to leave the building. It was not a normal alarm. It was frightening.”
With the fact that it was mere hours before Birthday Ball, many students feared it would hinder the joy of the special night.
“I thought they would postpone or even cancel Birthday Ball. I was afraid the night would’ve been ruined because of it,” Sydney Armitage, freshman, said.
Birthday Ball continued according to plan.

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