Aston Hall residents were forced to evacuate the building for about an hour and 20 minutes after a fire extinguisher filled hallways on two floors with smoke Saturday.
Joe Gasper, who lives on the eighth floor, said his friend who lives across the hall knocked on his door at about 5:40 p.m. When he opened the door, he saw the whole hallway was filled with smoke. Gasper called 911 and his friend, Ryan Dooley, pulled the eighth floor fire alarm.
I saw a thick substance in the hallway and ran, Dooley said. He said the smoke was like a thick fog and he couldn’t see from one end of the hallway to the other.
Danny Phillips, a resident of the ninth floor, said his floor was also filled with smoke. Phillips, who pulled the fire alarm on the ninth floor, said he noticed a white substance on the floor of the hallway.
Marcie Cohen, a resident of the ninth floor, said the smoke smelled like chemical smoke but resembled smoke from fire.
It looked like normal smoke, but it smelled weird, she said.
Other students on lower floors said they could also smell the chemical smell coming from the eighth floor.
University Police Officer Jeff Wozniak said there was no fire and he did not know why someone was handling the fire extinguisher. UPD officers said they did not know who was responsible for tampering with the fire extinguisher.
There’s no way to tell who did it, Wozniak said.
Aston residents said this was just another incident in the string of problems that have plagued the residence hall this year. Cohen said she believes the problem possibly could have been prevented if the Aston had working security cameras like other residence halls.
If we had cameras on the floor, we would know (who did it), or the person wouldn’t have done it in the first place, she said.
– Russ Rizzo contributed to this report.