Shae Ashamalla | Mustang News

Rory Bruton was fast asleep when he was awoken by a blaring loud noise around 3 a.m. Thursday morning. It was the fire alarm.

“Nobody was expecting it. Everybody was just sound asleep and just enjoying their dreams and then,” Bruton said, imitating a crash-like sound. “Blasted lights blaring, smoke coming up our noses. It was pretty quick.”

The earth and soil science freshman lives on the third floor of Yosemite tower 6, one floor above where an electrical fire occurred Feb. 10.

The electrical fire was started due to an “improperly overloaded power strip in a resident’s room,” President Jeffrey Armstrong wrote in a campus-wide email. 

One student obtained minor injuries and another 58 students were forced to evacuate their dorms, leaving them displaced for the remainder of the day.

Bruton said that when he was awoken by the alarm, there was no smoke on his floor. Yet, when he went down the stairwell to evacuate, he opened the door to the second floor and could see only smoke.

“It went from peacefully asleep to ‘What is going on? Why does it smell like smoke? What do I need to grab right now that I might need tomorrow?” Bruton said.

Ava Kershner | Mustang News

The fire was contained by the sprinkler system inside the residence hall prior to the arrival of San Luis Obispo Department fire crews, according to public information officer James Blattler.

Sociology freshman Taylor Brandenburg, who is neighbors with the person whose room was the location of the fire, said that the floors were “soggy” due to the sprinklers.

Brandenburg was not in her dorm the night of the fire, but was allowed to go to retrieve items on Thursday, where students were sent in groups of three. Bruton said he was given four minutes to retrieve his personal belongings.

The university aided the impacted students by providing them breakfast the morning of the fire, as well as toiletries. Brandenburg said she found the university’s assistance helpful whereas Bruton said he believes they could have done more to keep students out of the dark.

“I’m going to say [the university] definitely tried, but many students, we were just kind of hanging out in the common room … I feel like since it was so late, it really wasn’t that big of a deal because the sun was going to come up in about two hours,” Bruton said.

The fire is currently being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s office since it was on state property, according to Blattler.

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