Fire department praises NAU’s safe environment

The small fire that broke out in a residence hall room demonstrated that Northern Arizona University’s system for handling emergencies is in good working order.

“One lesson that NAU students can learn from this event is that living on campus is safe,” said Jim Wheeler, assistant chief of the Flagstaff Fire Department.

Although Mountain View Hall opened for occupancy in 1990, its safety features are current and the university’s continual fire-life safety diligence has kept Mountain View and other residence halls a safe environment, Wheeler said.

“The end results of this incident—no serious injuries and minimized damaged—demonstrate the effectiveness of our emergency response systems,” said Kathy Paleski, interim NAU police chief.

About 450 students living in Mountain View residence hall were evacuated early Tuesday morning after smoke was reported in a third-floor suite. Responding to the residence hall’s alarm system, NAU police and five units from the Flagstaff Fire Department arrived at 2:12 a.m.

By the time firefighters arrived, the sprinkler system already had extinguished the small fire, confining it to one room. The suite sustained smoke and water damage, and six others suffered water damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Flagstaff Fire Department officials are looking at the possibility of a lamp being too close to combustible materials.

The hall’s residents waited briefly outside Mountain View before moving to the nearby Recreation Center. They returned to Mountain View by 4 a.m.

Two students were taken to Flagstaff Medical Center after reporting breathing difficulties. They were treated and released by 4:30 a.m.

About 25 students have been relocated to temporary housing within Mountain View while crews repair damage. Restoration workers were at the residence hall by Tuesday morning, assessing the condition of the rooms and starting repairs.

The cost of the damage has not been determined.