February 3, 2016

Fire Officials Evacuate Collegetown Apartment Following Fire Alarm

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Tompkins County fire officials evacuated the residents of 208 Dryden this morning following a 3:15 a.m. fire alarm, according to the Ithaca Fire Department.

After the evacuation, firefighters determined that the Hai Hong Restaurant — a store on 208 Dryden’s ground level — was the cause of the smoke.

The fire was caused by “a pot [that] boiled over on the stove that pumped caustic smoke into the eatery and filled the apartments above,” according to the fire department.

“Crews shut down the stove and ventilated the restaurant, while others went floor by floor in the apartments to clear the smoke and check for carbon monoxide,” the fire department added.

Fire officials credited the functional alarm system for their quick response and reported that no one was injured during the incident.

Samir Durvasula ’17, a resident of Collegetown Court, said he was unaware of the alarm and that the whole situation was “kind of crazy.”

“The smoke detector in my room didn’t go off, I guess, and I didn’t hear the alarms from the hallway,” Durvasula said. “I woke up when people came back and friends walked into my room.”

However, Durvasula said the firefighters did not check his room or his roommate’s to verify that there was no fire or smoke.

Rohit Jha ’17, another Collegetown Court resident, also said the fire alarm was “very quiet.”

“People who were awake barely heard it,” Jha said. “They knew [about the fire] because they saw smoke.”

Jha said there was still visible smoke in some of the apartments when residents were allowed to return around 4:15 a.m. Durvasula added that his living room was filled with smoke after the fire department left.

“We used our fans to exhaust it outside,” Durvasula said.

The fire crew evacuated over 100 people, according to Jha, but he said he thought the evacuation was not very effective.

“Some people slept through it,” Jha said. “That just doesn’t seem good.”