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Monmouth College students praised for response to early-morning fire

Jeff Rankin

Monmouth College officials are praising the quick action by students and residence hall staff that prevented injuries and minimized damage during an early morning fire at Liedman Hall, a facility housing 120 women, on Tuesday.
The fire, which was contained within one double room on the second floor, was detected at approximately 3 a.m. when one of the residents awoke to see smoke in the room. She immediately woke her roommate on the bunk above, notified her resident assistant, and a fire alarm was pulled.  Within minutes, six resident assistants and the head resident efficiently vacated all students from the building, as a sprinkler doused the fire, and magnetic fire doors isolated the heat and smoke to a local area.
“The response by all our students was terrific,” said dean of students Jacquelyn Condon, who also complimented the work of the Monmouth Fire Department for its quick arrival and containment of the fire.
Liedman residents were temporarily relocated to the lounges of Cleland Hall, a men’s residence next door, until it was deemed safe for them to return at approximately 6:30 a.m. They were kept comfortable with donuts and juice supplied by food service and regular contact by professional staff.
“Cleaning up the water from the sprinklers is our chief concern right now,” said Condon. “Fortunately, it was contained primarily within the room where the two young women lived, although some dripped through to the head resident’s apartment directly below and into the main lounge on the first floor.” She said that maintenance staff is working quickly to dry out and clean the affected areas. A professional restoration company will likely be called in to make repairs to the room that suffered the fire.
The residence life staff immediately secured a new room for the two displaced students, as well as provided bedding and purchased some clothing. Faculty members were notified early in the day about the situation and the fact that Liedman residents had had little sleep.
“All fire alarm systems worked effectively,” said associate dean Mohsin Masood, who also pointed out that the sprinkler system is especially modern, having just been installed in 2011. Masood noted that each residence hall conducts a monthly fire drill, as well as a joint drill with the fire department each October.
Monmouth College was rated highly by the Princeton Review in its 2013 survey of colleges for its attention fire safety.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.