Elevator malfunction evacuates Village
November 5, 2007 9:20 AM
Residents in the Village at Centennial Square were evacuated for more than four hours early Sunday morning following an elevator malfunction on the B-side of the Village, according to SF State spokesperson Ellen Griffin.
A brief power shortage set off the Village’s generator just before midnight, triggering the elevator failure and setting off the fire alarm a few minutes later.
Nearly half of the Village residents were home during the time of the evacuation Griffin said and these students waited around outside on State Drive, and inside the Mary Park Hall and the Science and Technology Theme Community lounges for the duration of the evacuation.
According to University Police Sgt. Emiliano Balistreri, who explained the situation to the roughly 40 residents and a few Resident Assistants sitting in Mary Park, the campus police and the San Francisco Fire Department were unable to re-set the alarm and an employee from the fire alarm company was coming from San Leandro to re-set it.
A representative from the company, Simplex Grinnell, said they received a call at 1 a.m. requesting this alarm re-set. According to Griffin, PG&E and the campus facilities also had a hand in resolving the issue.
Initial reports indicated that the generator was blowing smoke or fumes into the smoke detector, but Griffin reported that once the generator was turned off the alarm remained on.
“Until they isolated why they were getting that signal [the alarm] wasn’t going to turn off,” Griffin said.
After about 2 hours of waiting around, the RAs told the Village residents that while a risk of fire didn’t appear to be present, they couldn’t allow students back in the building until they re-set the continuously buzzing alarm.
If there was a fire, there would be no warning system in place as the alarm was already going off, they explained.
After evacuating her building for many false alarms, Village resident Rachel Duron, 21, was surprised to learn that this time the alarm had gone off for a legitimate reason.
“[I’m] tired of the alarm going off all the time,” she said. “I wasn’t going to come out but my [roommates] made me.”
Fellow Village resident Alex Soden, 19, felt the process could have been smoother.
“It seems a little disorganized,” he said of the evacuation. “Three and a half hours seems way too long.”
But Erin Rea, 18, also a Village resident, said she sympathizes with the Resident Assistants (RAs) that stood waiting with the students listening for reports of an all clear.
“It sucks that the RAs are getting such a bad rep,” she said. “They can’t help it.”
Many students took naps on Café in the Park’s floor or rested their heads on the tables. Residents were allowed back into their Village apartments just after 3 a.m.
Griffin reported that the campus facilities are currently making final repairs on the failed elevator and two fully functioning elevators are still available for resident use.
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