Fire Damages Dorm Room

Libby Nelson

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By Libby NelsonThe Daily Northwestern

A fire Monday night on the third floor of the Evans Scholars’ house, 721 University Place, damaged one room and caused minimal water damage to the hallway one floor below, said Chief Alan Berkowsky of the Evanston Fire Department.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Berkowsky said.

The single room’s resident, McCormick senior Brian Crawford, was not in the room at the time, and the fire department was notified when the building’s alarm went off about 6 p.m., Berkowsky said.

No 911 call was made.

Nearly all of the Evans Scholar house’s residents were working in kitchens in various Northwestern sororities when the fire alarm went off, said Evans Scholars President Mike Danaher, who is also a Communication senior.

As part of the Evans Scholars program, which provides a full scholarship and housing to former golf caddies, scholars have the option of working for sororities in exchange for wages and meals.

Evanston firefighters extinguished the fire about 10 minutes after the building’s alarms initially went off, Berkowsky said.

“The fire alarm did what it was designed to do,” he said. “Everything went down very well.”

The building does not now have sprinklers, though the university is planning to install them to bring the building up to fire code, according to faculty adviser Father Ken Simpson, director of Sheil Catholic Center.

In this case, he said, sprinklers might not have helped because the fire was controlled and confined to one room.

Danaher said sprinklers probably will be installed within the next two years.

While the fraternity’s executive board looks into the building’s insurance and repair options, Crawford will move into the room of a resident who is studying abroad, Danaher said.

Crawford’s door was closed, so damage was confined mostly to his room, Berkowsky said.

Danaher said Crawford’s laptop was left running on one of the room’s couches and it has been proposed as a possible cause of the fire.

He said most of Crawford’s clothes, which were left in the closet, are salvageable, but the room will have to be cleaned further to determine what else can be saved.

The couch where the fire started was completely destroyed, he said, and another couch and the bed probably sustained too much water and smoke damage to be used.

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