Students Scramble After Dormitory Fire Breaks Out

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio – A fire broke out at a dormitory on the campus of Notre Dame College early Thursday morning, but after a series of false alarms, students weren't sure whether they should run for their lives, 19/43 News' Bill Younkin reported.

The fire blew out windows and started spreading to the roof of Harks Hall.

The fire alarm sounded at approximately 4:30 a.m., but students said that there have been so many false alarms recently that not everyone paid attention to the real thing.

The $250,000 blaze broke out in a corner of the dorm's lounge, and only got worse when air started feeding the flames as the windows blew out. The flames spread quickly.

"I woke up to pounding on the doors," Notre Dame freshman Shaun Abel said. "When I got off of my bed, I opened the door and there was smoke all over the ceiling.

"People were running down the hall saying, 'It's real,' and pounding on everyone's door. It was probably the most frightening experience I ever had in my life."

Two students were treated for smoke inhalation and a third student was treated for injuries that he suffered when he jumped out of a first-floor window. It could have been much worse, however.

"We walked out and saw the smoke, and it was like, 'Wow! It's for real this time,'" freshman Matt Embacher said. "There's been a lot of false alarms recently, so we kind of just thought it was another false alarm."

South Euclid Fire Department Chief Tom Cannell said that the numerous false alarms recently could be very dangerous because people tend to get complacent when the alarm goes off.

"The alarm will go off and they'll think it's another false alarm," Cannell said. "They won't pay attention to it."

The students who roomed at Harks that live close to campus will now be asked to commute to class for the time being. The rest of the students will have to double up in another dorm.