Fire damages Wing dorm

  A fire in a student dorm room caused flooding and the evacuation of Wing Hall at 3:02 a.m. on Oct. 22.   A student who does not live in Wing caused the fire by using a lighter on some artificial vegetation, Burlington Fire Marshal Terence Francis said.   “The sprinkler system extinguished the fire before it became an issue, but unfortunately that water had to go somewhere,” Francis said.   Only a single sprinkler head went off, but with a spray of 15 to 20 gallons of water per minute there was damage to the electrical system of the floors below, he said.   The cost of the damage to the building has not been calculated, but the estimate is $10,000 to $15,000, said John Marcus, administrative coordinator of risk management and safety.   In an email to inform parents of the situation, Reslife stated that the Wing/Davis/Wilks complex was evacuated in the early morning hours of Oct. 22.   The residents of Davis and Wilks were allowed to re-enter the building shortly after the incident, but students living in Wing Hall were not permitted back into their rooms until 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, according to the email.   “A small number of students who were unable to reoccupy their rooms were offered temporary spaces at the Sheraton,” the email stated.   The fire marshal said this was a situation that could have been avoided, but it was a mistake that hopefully can be learned from.   “I’m going to be very blunt.  This fire was started by pure stupidity,” Francis said.  “It was an unpleasant experience, but the individual [who started the fire] did step forward immediately.  He didn’t try to hide; that’s commendable.”     Francis said that the bigger challenge was trying to get students awake and out of the building.   “It was a Saturday night in a college dorm,” Francis said. “Most of these students had only been in bed for an hour, but unfortunately that means they were in their deepest cycle of sleep, so the fire alarm doesn’t always wake people up.”   About 20 to 25 students were missing after the building was evacuated, so firefighters had to walk through the halls, enter rooms and wake people up, he said.   “This must have been a frightening experience for students,” Francis said.