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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Vaping sets off fire alarm in Meriam Library

Prior to knowing the cause of the alarm, facility operations coordinator Michael Watts said he took necessary precautions to get everyone out safely
Trained floor evacuation coordinators from the Meriam Library evacuate the building as the fire alarm goes off. Taken by Jessica Miller on Jan. 30, 2024.

The fire alarm in Meriam Library was set off on Tuesday at around 1 p.m. as a result of a person vaping in a restroom. 

Prior to knowing the cause of the alarm, facility operations coordinator Michael Watts said he took necessary precautions to get everyone out safely.

“Campus electricians are the ones that turn off the alarms and they were very prompt and our campus police were very prompt,” Watts said. “We like to think that we have a pretty good system in place here.”

Chico State’s Environmental Health and Safety was one of the resources involved, as they help the campus community in cases of emergency.

Every building on campus has faculty and staff volunteers who are recruited and trained to be floor evacuation coordinators, according to EHS’s occupational safety manager Heather C. Long.

“Over the last two days, our FECs helped everyone exit the library so the Chico Fire Department could inspect the facility, determine the cause of the alarm, and ultimately make the decision it was safe for students and employees to return,” Long said.

After the fire department confirmed everything was okay, Watts said staff and students were able to go back inside within 10-minutes.

When the alarm went off, junior Sonia Sutton was studying with her friends on the first floor. They felt safer after seeing staff making sure no one was left behind.

“The first guy we saw was very quick, he put on his vest and said, ‘Please grab everything and evacuate,’ so he was quick out the door and told students to hurry,” Sutton said.

The library’s fire alarm was also activated a day before for a different reason. Long said maintenance work on the fourth floor restroom triggered the alarm to go off.

“Dust and debris in the exhaust fan caused a duct sensor in the HVAC system to activate the alarm,” said Long.

Long confirmed the fire alarm in the library is currently functioning properly and that it will only activate if it detects smoke, fumes, or other particulates. 

Milca Elvira Chacon can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Milca Elvira Chacon
Milca Elvira Chacon is a journalism major with a minor in Broadcasting. She was a contributor for The Orion last semester, but is now officially working for the student-led newspaper. She hopes to strengthen her writing skills and contribute to stories that will positively impact the community. Outside of journalism, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and working out.

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