At approximately 10:15 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 3, residents of Shafer Hall were evacuated after smoke was detected on the second floor. According to an email from the Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety C. Meshia Thomas, the fire had been set off as a result of a cloth draped over the overhead light fixture.
The Wellesley Fire Department was able to successfully extinguish the fire and vent out the smoke, and occupants of the hall were allowed to return to their rooms by 11:00 a.m. The Fire Department and Residential Life took steps to ensure that the smoke smell would dissipate.
“[I] wasn’t sure if it was our building or another at first, but then I realized my window faces the Quint and the sound [of the alarm] wasn’t coming from my window, so it definitely wasn’t another building,” Shafer resident Aislinn Bohot ’24 said in a message to The News. “I … started smelling smoke just when I got to [the] second floor [which is where the fire ended up being].”
The room in question, which had been occupied by two first-years, was uninhabitable afterwards. Munger House President Avalon Swanson ’23 confirmed that both students were relocated to Munger Hall, as no available doubles were present in Shafer.
A similar fire incident occurred in Claflin Hall the following week. According to reports on social media, as well as an email sent to Claflin residents, a student had attempted to microwave instant ramen noodles for six minutes without adding water. No damage was sustained by the building and no fire was actually started.
Wellesley Fire Department Assistant Chief Nat Brady stated that most of the fires that he had responded to in the College were due to unattended open flames, such as in the use of ceremonial candles in rooms, false alarms due to burnt food and electrical fires due to people overloading power strips.
“[The rate of fire alarms at Wellesley is] usually quite high, compared to other businesses in town,” Assistant Chief Brady said. “[If you want to prevent fires], read the directions on the back of microwaveable popcorn, it doesn’t take 5 minutes. A lot of it is common sense. Add water to ramen. If you cook ramen in your room, read the directions on the box.”