BREAKING: Floors in Rich evacuate due to a mattress fire

Students tried to put the flames out with water bottles before the fire department showed up

West Campus students were evacuated after a student’s mattress caught fire in a dorm room on the 10th floor of Rich Hall, according to a BU Alert that was sent to residents this evening.

A resident of the floor, Chaneigh Bernard, CGS ’20, was in the middle of a shower when she heard alarms erupt around 9pm this evening.

“I considered staying to finish my shower [but] when I left the bathroom I was hit with a thick wall of smoke,” Bernard told The Tab BU on the scene.

The text message authorized by Sergant Torchio, said the fire department “is working on the situation” and urged for an “orderly evacuation” of students.

Shortly after, the evacuation process was underway and no student was allowed back into the building or near the area, according to Tara Chaglasian, QUESTROM ’20, who was asked to leave her room in Sleeper Hall.

Residents of Rich tried to put the fire out with water bottles before the fire department showed up, said Marisa Ingemi, COM ’17, to the Tab BU on the scene.

“I opened the door and there was smoke and people yelling ‘fire!’ so I ran downstairs,” said Ingemi. “It was three doors down from my room. One person brought out a case of water bottles and told people to pour it on the fire.”

Other residents of the 10th floor, Peter Ward and Andrew Chui said they heard people yelling, “get water bottles” in amidst of chaos after an “electrical surge of sorts” on the floor occurred.
According to Ward, during evacuation, he went part-way down the stairs and realized he forgot his phone charger. When he ran back up to the 10th floor to grab it, he described the air as “hard to breathe,” and said the hallway was filled with smoke.
Other members of their floor told the two men that a female student’s whole bed caught fire in a triple after what appears to have been a power surge.

Many students on other floors were not informed of the incident by the alarms that either did not go off or “was so faint that I had to strain to hear it,” said Ingemi.

Kaitlyn Hirsch, SAR ’20, said, “our alarm didn’t go off but then we heard a pounding on the door and we open [it] to see BUDP.”

There are no reports of injury at this time

Residents were moved to the courtyard area around 10:30pm and some waited by the bleachers at Nickerson until the situation was cleared.

UPDATE: Around 10:55pm all students were allowed to enter the dorms again with the exception of residents of the 10th floor.

The Office of Residence Life is working on the relocation of some occupants of the floor, according to a follow-up BU Alert sent at 11pm.

Resident Assistants are searching for the three girls who live in the room, according to a Tab writer who noted they held printed pictures of the three students.

BUPD was unable to comment at this time.

This article is being updated