Three fire alarms at Forbes College in about 12 hours — including an alarm at 4:38 a.m. today that sent pajama-clad students into the cold — were caused by a faulty vent pipe in the laundry room, University Fire Marshal Bob Gregory said.
After the first two alarms, on Wednesday at 10:14 p.m. and early on Thursday, officials from the Facilities Department cleaned out lint and changed the heat detector that signaled the alarm. After the third alarm, on Thursday at 11 a.m., officials discovered that the vent pipe, which carries hot air out of a dryer, had come apart and had been blowing hot air on the detector.
The problem dryer has been taken out of service, Gregory said, and will be repaired. The fire department did not respond to Forbes because there were no reports of an actual fire, he said.
Alarms from laundry rooms, especially from faulty vents, are rare, he said. There were no laundry-related alarms in 2009 from Forbes, the Forbes Addition or the Forbes Annex.
Gregory emphasized that, in the event of an alarm, students should evacuate the building and head to safe assembly areas, which are indicated during fire drills. That way, he said, officials on scene can relay information quickly to students about the alarm.
By Henry Rome, staff writer for News.