Allison Hall evacuated after “facilities issue” triggers fire alarm


Nick Francis/The Daily Northwestern

The area in front of Allison Hall Monday morning. Students were let back in the residence hall 20 minutes after evacuation.

Nick Francis, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

A fire alarm prompted the evacuation of Allison Hall’s residents mid-Monday morning.

A “facilities issue” in the Allison lobby and dining hall triggered the alarm, which began around 11:57 a.m., according to South Area Resident Director Dani O’Hara. No other details on the nature of the issue were immediately available.

Students were ushered outside and into various spaces such as the dining hall tent and Shepard Hall common areas to avoid inclement weather and follow social distancing guidelines.

Allison residents were let back in the hall around 12:20 p.m. in waves and were asked to observe social distancing where possible.

Bienen and Communication freshman Caroline Weiss was in the middle of an aural skills examination when the fire alarm went off. Her professor, she said, was understanding of the whole situation.

“He sent an email saying ‘It’s all okay, I just hope you’re safe and submit whenever you feel ready,’” she said.

Weiss later said she wasn’t sure if the alarm was a drill or not and did not grab a coat. While she felt cold, Weiss said it “wasn’t horrible” because students were allowed back inside 20 minutes later.

Like Weiss, Communication freshman Emily Seo was also underdressed for the sub-20 degree weather. Seo said she was wearing only sweatpants and a pullover.

“Everyone was calmer than I expected,” she said, “but the lower you got, you could start to smell whatever was going on. That’s when we knew it was not a drill.”

Seo later said she had not seen so many people congregate since before the start of the pandemic.

This is a developing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Twitter: @nick24francis

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