By Clair McFarland, General Assignment Reporter
There were hundreds evacuated but no deaths or serious injuries after a one-room fire in a University of Wyoming dormitory early Tuesday.
Believed to be accidental, the fire in room 209 of Orr Hall originated in a pile of clothes next to a bed, where there were multiple cords in an electrical charging base, according to a statement from the Laramie Police Department.
The room’s two tenants were not in the room when the fire started, but were told of it when they arrived on scene. Authorities also interviewed them later, the statement says.
The Laramie Fire Department and UW Police Department were dispatched 12 minutes after midnight Tuesday and found moderate smoke conditions throughout the second floor the room occupies.
A UW resident life manager was using a dry chemical extinguisher on the fire when official fire crews “made their attack,” according to the statement.
Fire crews “were able to knock” the fire down by 23 minutes after midnight, roughly 11 minutes after they received the call.
Authorities then searched the dorm to make sure everyone had evacuated during the earlier alarm. One person had not gotten out the statement says, so UW police escorted that person out.
Authorities ventilated the building for the next two hours to get the extinguisher chemical fumes “and other hazardous gases” out. The statement says they then used gas detection equipment to determine whether chemical presence had reached a safe level.
Minor Injuries, Fire Damage
Room 209 sustained moderate smoke and fire damage, the department said. UW said in its own statement that there also is water damage to the room.
There were two injuries noted and treated on scene: one “medical condition” and one injured finger.
Fire department personnel did not take anyone to the hospital, the statement adds.
The department said students were relocated to another area for shelter and arrangements for temporary lodging for dormitory residents is being undertaken by UW resident life managers.
All crews were off scene by 2:32 a.m. and UW personnel took over the scene. They worked through Tuesday morning to get students back to their dormitory, the LPD statement says.
UW Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Ryan O’Neil was in Orr Hall supporting the Resident Life team, according to a statement by UW.
“The Residence Life assistants and housing team did a fantastic job prioritizing and evacuating everyone. They helped to ensure that overnight accommodations were made available to students in the Shoshone Room,” O’Neil said in the statement. “The staff was incredible helping students and each other.”
Nearly 30 students were housed overnight in the Shoshone Room, while remaining students stayed with friends, sorority or fraternity houses, or other places, O’Neill said.
“Residence Life staff did a great job helping to ensure that this situation was handled as quickly and safely as possible for all of those students and staff involved,” she added.