Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In case you thought you had a bad night last night...

Late Tuesday night, around 11:30 PM, as yours truely was madly scrambling with other frantic EE's to finish analyzing circuits that served no readily understandable purpose, the fire alarm in our Cinderblock Palace was set off for the first time this year. Normally (meaning the 20-odd times it went off last year), the alarm is the result of a cooking mishap or is a drill, both of which cause the complete evacuation of the hall but last no longer than 10 mintues. Last night was blest with an amazing display of rain, thunder and lighting...like a true Oregonian, I grabbed sandals and led the charge into the downpour. After the about 5 minutes of joyous dancing in the raw elements, we realized the firefighters had not yet emerged from the dorm and began to grow suspicious.

En mass, we began walking around to the front of the door...to discoveran ugly cloud of black smoke billowing from one of the first floor windows...just a few rooms down from my own. As it turns out, a curtain in one of my friend's rooms was sucked into a window fan and locked the blades from spinning, which caused the motor to overheat, which caused the curtain to catch fire, which melted the fan to the window and in-general began causing things in the room to go up in flames. He returned from studying over an hour later (around the same time we were let back in to the dorm) to discover the charred remains of those items that had been close to the window along with all of their possessions covered in a layer of ugly black soot. Luckily, it seems both the computers in the room will survive (though the campus IT department hasn't issued the final word).

But our common room once again has a couple of homeless vagrants in it, and we've all learned a valuable lesson about fans and curtains. And our hideous cinderblocks proved themselves as a great material for containing fire.

-JB

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