I had just started taking an online quiz for my marketing class at 12:30 am the Sunday before finals week, I got all the way to question three before the fire alarms went off. Not knowing why the alarms were going off on a Sunday night after midnight, I quickly grabbed my orange safety vest and orange cone that the RA’s use to knock on doors. My roommate was not on campus at the time, so I knew that I had to make sure I cleared the second floor of our building as well as clear the study room on the third floor, and make sure that one of our residents in a wheelchair was out of his room.
I started running down the hall knocking on all the doors and yelling for the residents to get out of the building. Halfway down the hall I see what looks like oil coming out of one room. At this point I have no idea why there’s oil coming out of the room or why it set the fire alarms off but I continued to evacuate the building, A few seconds later the resident of the room with the “puddle”, opened his door and stepped out into the hallway soaking wet. I realized that it was the fire sprinklers that had gone off, regardless, I told him to get out of the building and continued down the hall, luckily several of the other RA’s were in the lobby and had already cleared the first floor and were on their way to help me with my floor, we all exited the building, as I was running out of the building I could already see that the water had leaked through the floors and was pouring from the ceiling of the first floor hallway.
Once outside there was nothing we could do except watch as water poured out of the room and out of the building. Once we had the water shut off I went inside the building with the housing coordinator to asses the damage. The second floor hallway and first floor hallway were soaking wet, and a total of three rooms had water damage.
Around two in the morning I’m helping get residents back into their rooms, and helping those who had to leave their rooms due to water damage relocate to new rooms. We then spent the rest of the night vacuuming up as much of the water as we could with wet/dry vacs, By 5 a.m. we had vacuumed up as much of the water as we could and decided to call it a night.
It turns out the sprinkler had been set off when the resident’s backpack strap hit the sprinkler head. I went back to my room and saw that my quiz had been running for over four hours, it was a 30 minute timed quiz, so I was locked out, but luckily my professor opened it back up for me. I will never forget that night, first because I could not believe that the sprinklers were going off, and second, because I thought there was oil coming out of the resident’s room!
The “oil” turned out to be the water from the sprinklers. Our building is very old and the pipes had some black “gunk” in them, that along with dirt in the carpet, made the water black. I did overhear one of my other residents comment as he was leaving the building, “Dude his toilet is backing up”.
LOL I’m also sure that our RA who is graduating in a few weeks will never forget her last night on call!