Air conditioner smoke raises campus alarm

By Rachel Stengel

A malfunctioning air conditioner in room 321 was the cause of the evacuation of Memorial Hall on Tuesday.

At 4:05 p.m., Public Safety officers responded to reports of a burning odor in Memorial and called Facilities Management after a professor in an adjacent classroom reported seeing sparks coming from the air conditioner. Public Safety ordered a full evacuation of the building and called Lawrence Township Police Department and Lawrenceville Fire Company, according to Head of Public Safety Vicki Weaver.
Sophomore Sarah Lopez was in the classroom that contained the malfunctioning air conditioner. Her management class was taking a test at the time of the incident.

“I left to go get water because I couldn’t stop coughing,” Lopez said. “I saw Public Safety pull the fire alarm and that’s when everyone left.”

The fire department confirmed the smoke was coming from the air conditioning unit at 4:22 p.m., and deemed Memorial safe for reentry at 4:52 p.m. The air conditioning unit was removed by Facilities. No one was injured, but one student went to the hospital for further treatment because of a pre-existing medical condition,  Weaver said.

Weaver said that she thinks the process went smoothly.

“I would like to thank occupants of building, the building marshals, Public Safety officers and Facilities for a very organized, structured evacuation,” she said.

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