Fire in Dewey Hall evacuates 800 students Sunday

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Roughly 800 students evacuated the Governors Complex around 11 a.m. Sunday as fire departments responded to a fire in Dewey Hall.

UB relocated five students to other residence halls, according to UB spokesperson John DellaContrada.

WBEN, WKBW and WGRZ reported that the fire caused $50,000 in damage and was caused by items left close to a heater. The Spectrum could not confirm this with DellaContrada as of Sunday at 6:30 p.m. DellaContrada wrote in an email “the cause of the fire is still under investigation” and “the university is still assessing the damage and won’t have an estimate until later this week when contractors have reviewed the scene.”

ALEXANDER BROWN | The Spectrum

Four fire departments responded to Sunday's Dewey Hall fie, which caused no injuries.


Students returned to their dorms around 12:30 p.m., except for the roughly 200 Dewey Hall residents. The Dewey residents were temporarily relocated to Natural Sciences Complex until around 1:30 p.m.  

The evacuated students, in blankets, bathrobes and slippers, gathered on the sidewalk across from Governors Complex for about 15 minutes before many of them went to the Student Union for breakfast.

Aliya Hyman, a freshman biological sciences major, said she woke up to the “robotic voice” of a fire alarm. She said she sleeps in four blankets and struggled for a few minutes to get unwrapped.

ALEXANDER BROWN | The Spectrum

Students stand outside in the cold weather as officials respond to the fire.


“I didn’t see any smoke so I thought it was fake,” Hyman said. “But when I saw all the firetrucks I realized something really happened.”

Samuel Smullen, a freshman aerospace engineering major, said he “wasn’t too happy” to wake up to the sound of a fire alarm and worried his turbine project would catch on fire. 

“I didn’t smell smoke but when I went outside I saw swirling smoke in a window,” Smullen said. “Next thing I know, nine firetrucks come by and then I got worried about all my stuff.”

ALEXANDER BROWN | The Spectrum

A fireman holds a hose outside of Dewey Hall.


Kaplewicz said students should ensure hair dryers, straighteners and curlers are unplugged, as those are common causes of fires.

 This is a developing story. 

Anastasia Wilds contributed reporting to this story.

Brittany Gorny is the senior news editor and can be reached at brittany.gorny@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @BrittanyGorny.

BRITTANY GORNY


Brittany Gorny is the senior news editor.