Credit: File Photo | Mustang News

Students living in Yosemite Residence Hall tower 6 are allowed to return to their dorm rooms one week after an electrical fire on their floor caused them to evacuate, according to messages obtained by Mustang News.

University Housing notified students living on the second floor of the building, where the fire broke out,  that they can return to their rooms starting at 1 p.m. on Friday. 

The fire occurred around 3 a.m. Feb. 10 in Yosemite Tower 6 on the second floor. President Jeffrey Armstrong said in an email that an “improperly overloaded power strip in a resident’s room” caused the fire. The sprinkler system put out the fire, causing significant amounts of water to spread throughout the first and second floors, Armstrong said.

One student had minor injuries and 58 students total were forced to evacuate their dorms.

Students were given temporary room assignments to stay in until the second floor was cleaned and approved by Cal Fire’s Office of the State Fire Marshal.

“We appreciate your patience and cooperation this past week,” University Housing said in an email to second floor residents. “We know it has not been easy to manage a disruption of this sort at this point in the term.” 

A student attempted to smother the electrical fire with a blanket. The blanket caught on fire, so the student attempted to put it out in a porcelain toilet, causing it to blow up, according to Floor 2 resident Taylor Brandenburg. Courtesy Photo 

Electrical fire unlike anything seen at Cal Poly before, data shows

According to University Police data shared by Cal Poly spokesperson Matt Lazier, this was the first “actual” fire on campus in 2022. Others were reported, but only turned out to be a false alarm or smoke without fire, Lazier said.

Cal Poly had three actual fires in both 2020 and 2021, compared to four in 2019 and seven in 2018. 

“These are, for the most part, small fires such as a pan catching fire on a stove, a bag of popcorn igniting in a microwave, or a cigarette in a trash can,” Lazier wrote in an email to Mustang News.

The data also includes vegetation fires, such as one that burned 97 acres behind the South Mountain and Sierra Madre residence halls in 2017. 

According to the same data, the last fire to set off a building’s sprinklers was nearly a decade ago in Poly Canyon Village. 




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