photo: Connor Raine/The Intrepid
By Peter Byrne
ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — A malfunction in an air handler caused smoke at St. Bonaventure University’s Falconio Hall on Thursday.
The building’s fire alarm was triggered by the smoke around noon, causing the Allegany Fire Dept. to respond to the situation.
According to a university spokesman, the smoke resulted from a seized-up belt on the motor of the air handler, which was located on the roof of Falconio Hall. The university made it clear that there was no fire.
Students were forced to evacuate the building when the fire alarms went off, before being able to return at approximately 12:43 p.m.
Greg Jubulis, a freshman at SBU and resident of the building, was doing homework in his dorm room when the fire alarm went off.
Jubulis recalled a weird smell coming from the building before he left.
“We evacuated the building and stood outside for about 10 minutes before the fire trucks came,” Jubulis said.
When the trucks finally came, Jubulis counted at least four of them at the scene. One truck brought a ladder to get onto the roof.
“After they got there, we were probably out there for another 30 minutes,” Jubulis said. “They brought out the ladder and hose but didn’t use it. The firefighters looked lost.”
Maddie Wiles, another Falconio Hall resident, also talked about the evacuation.
“The fire alarm went off and we all stood outside,” she said. “They kept telling us to get farther and farther away from the building.”
Wiles also recalled seeing at least four fire trucks, in addition to two police cars and an ambulance.
“After about an hour, we could back in, but it still smells bad inside the building,” Wiles said.
She hopes the smell goes away soon.
Adam O’Donoghue watched the entire thing unfold from his dorm in nearby Robinson Hall.
“We didn’t have to evacuate, but we all watched it happen,” he said. “It was crazy.”
O’Donoghue said there was no panic from the students in his building, but uncertainty about the situation across from them.
There is no plan for alternate arrangements for the students in Falconio Hall, as firefighters left the scene after getting the situation under control.
The university said that its facilities department is working to repair the handler as we speak.