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After Keeney fire, many first-years seek housing

It may be as late as Monday before Jameson House residents can return to their rooms

Most residents of Jameson House in Keeney Quadrangle remain displaced from their rooms after a fire in the dorm Monday evening.

While no injuries were reported, there was smoke and water damage to the residence hall, The Herald previously reported.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, said a representative from the Providence Fire Department.

Residents in the basement, first and second floors will be allowed to return to their rooms Friday, but those living on the third floor cannot return until Monday, wrote Margaret Klawunn, vice president of campus life and student affairs, in an email to affected residents. There are a total of five floors in Jameson.

Some students have chosen to stay with friends, and the Office of Residential Life is willing to provide additional mattresses and room keys to friends’ rooms, Klawunn wrote. Those who choose not to stay with a friend can ask for a temporary assignment, she wrote.

Third-floor Jameson resident Elizabeth Stanfield ’16 said she chose to remain in her room despite recommendations to move, because there was no damage on her side of the hallway. After seeing an affected room, Stanfield said “the edging on the wall looked kind of messed up.” A “huge, yellow tube” remains in the hallway to remove the water emitted by sprinklers, she said.

Facilities Management staff members have been working “to dry and dehumidify all residential spaces impacted by the fire, smoke and water,” Klawunn wrote.

Candy Elle ’16 lives two doors down from the room where the fire started. She returned to Keeney during a break from work to find people from her floor in a different house in Keeney “in flip-flops and towels.” Some were crying, she added, and they told her their rooms were flooded.

“When you hear third floor, you don’t think flood,” Elle said. “This doesn’t make sense,” she recalled thinking to herself.

When she reached her hallway, she said she saw “a river of black liquid … sloshing back and forth.”

Police officers told her they needed to control the water before she could enter. When she returned, “the river” was gone, but there were “big puddles everywhere,” she said. “There were two and half inches of water in my room.”

Elle said the water damage was extensive, particularly to shoes, rugs and dresses on her floor.

Elle was placed in a room in Keeney with a plastic-wrapped mattress. “Anything is better than what I just walked in on,” she said. “I’m just taking what I can get at this point.”

Jessica Brown ’16, who lives next to the room where the fire started, said she was in her room when she smelled smoke and saw it blow across her window before the alarms went off. “I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to them, but I saw the smoke,” Brown said.

Exiting her room, Brown said she saw smoke coming out of the neighboring door. When she was allowed back into Jameson, she said there was “a disgusting mix of dirt, soot and water in all of the rooms” and “anything on the floor was soaked.” Brown said she passed by the room next door and saw the “whole back wall (was) charred.” Brown spent the night in the Archibald House lounge in a “pseudo-sleepover” with other residents.

Many students offered different forms of assistance — rooms, sleeping bags, phone chargers — on the Class of 2016 Facebook page after the students were displaced.


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