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Late-Night Fire Alarms Displace Multiple Williams Hall Residents

Though Aria Nafziger lives in Williams Hall, she found herself sprawled out on a couch in the lounge of Roncalli Hall shortly after 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning. A series of late-night fire alarms in Williams left her unable to sleep in her own bed.

“My roommate and I went to Roncalli and just found a few couches in the prayer and study room and slept there,” Nafziger, MCAS ’27, said. “That was at like 1:15 [a.m.] or so. I think I heard today that shortly after that point, the alarms did stop. But we had no idea when they would be shut off.”

Fire alarms went off on three separate occasions in Williams Hall on Sunday. The third occurred around 11:30 p.m., prohibiting some students from reentering their rooms.

The incident was due to a faulty alarm, according to University Spokesman Jack Dunn.

“Newton Fire responded and declared the alarm to be faulty,” Dunn wrote in a statement to The Heights.

Marco Nader, a Williams resident and CSOM ’27, said the first alarm went off around 8:30 a.m., followed by a second alarm around 10:30 a.m. Both of these alarms only sounded on the second and third floors of Williams, he said.

“We got woken up about 8:30 a.m. by a fire alarm—it was pretty short,” Nader said. “Then, about 10:30 a.m., there was one again, which was kind of weird, but my roommate and I were leaving anyway.”

The third alarm sounded around 11:30 p.m. and could be heard throughout all four floors of the building, according to Vivienne Woodard, a Williams resident and CSOM ’27. Woodard said police officers and firefighters responded quickly to the scene, searching the building and closing off upper floors.

“We were told not to go to our room … then, maybe two minutes later, my friend and I went back up to try to see if we could get into our room, and a different policeman said that we were [able to],” Woodard said. “So I went to bed around 1:00 [a.m.] and I was never woken up by an alarm.”

Jack Burns, another Williams resident and MCAS ’27, said the fire alarms primarily affected students living on the second and third floors of the building. 

“I think [the alarms] stopped, and they said, ‘You guys are good to go back in,’ and then it started going off again, probably around like 12:45 [a.m.],” Burns said. “They were telling us that we were not allowed to go to our rooms if we lived on floors two and three.”

Burns said he and other students were later told by the RA that they could reenter the building, but the alarms would continue to sound. 

“I received a text from my RA over GroupMe that we were good to go back inside,” Burns said. “That was information he had received from the police officers saying that we were good to go to our rooms but that the alarm would just keep going off,” Burns said. 

The RA sent another message to the GroupMe informing students that the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) could verify the occurrence of the alarms.

“If you feel like tonight’s alarm might have disrupted your academic abilities, I would encourage you to inform your professors and advocate for your needs,” the message reads. “ResLife can vouch that the alarm did go off if your professors ask for verification.”

Unsure of when the alarms would finally stop sounding, Burns said he spent the night at a friend’s room in Xavier Hall.

“I relocated,” Burns said. “Because at that point, when I went to bed, I wasn’t sure if the alarms would keep going off and on, because it was like an off and on thing for a long time. I got to his room around two in the morning.”

In an email sent to Williams residents at 1:26 p.m. on Monday, ResLife Facilities said the alarm system was being repaired.

“We are sending this email to inform you the fire alarm system in your building is being repaired this afternoon by our vendor Keyes North Atlantic, and they are scheduled to be completed over the next couple hours,” the email reads. “Once the repairs are completed, they will sound the horns to ensure the repairs were successful.” 

March 18, 2024