Funger Hall is evacuated after report of smoke

by David Ceasar

Hundreds of people evacuated Funger Hall Monday afternoon, while the D.C. Fire Department attended to a smoking light fixture.

Students in professor James Bailey's organizational behavior class noticed smoke coming out of a ceiling light in Funger 108 at about 4:30 p.m. After seeing the smoke and smelling an odor, Bailey pulled the fire alarm and instructed his class to leave the building.

"It smelled like an electrical smell - not a lot of smoke, but I wasn't in the room too long. It came quickly, then seemed to dissipate," Bailey said.

D.C. Fire Battalion Chief G.L. Palmer said they received a report of an odor, but did not find a fire in Funger.

The device that maintains the current through a fluorescent bulb, called a ballast, malfunctioned in the smoking light fixture, said Matt Lindsay, assistant director of Media Relations. Facilities Management staff accompanied fire fighters to the scene to repair the light, which Lindsay said "was a relatively small procedure."

Firefighters first arrived at about 4:45 p.m., with seven trucks on the scene within a few minutes. One fire truck extended its ladder toward the roof of Funger, but retracted it before firefighters ascended.

Metropolitan and University Police departments shut down vehicular traffic on G Street between 22nd and 23rd streets. All the fire trucks had left by 5:08 p.m., and UPD reopened the building a few minutes later.

Freshman Anna Beller left Bailey's class after he pulled the alarm."We saw the smoke, and then it started to smell. It was coming out of the light, but there were no flames."

-Brandon Butler contributed to this report.

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