October 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized

Students questioned in Branford blaze, but no arrests

At 7:11 p.m. Thursday, firefighters were called to Branford College to put out a fire.
At 7:11 p.m. Thursday, firefighters were called to Branford College to put out a fire. Photo by Yale Daily News.

Updated Thursday 9:14 p.m.

Authorities have questioned the members of the suite in Branford’s Entryway G where a fire took place early Thursday evening, but no arrests are being made, New Haven Fire Department officials said.

Students on the scene said they saw flames through the window of suite G-11. According to a member of the NHFD, the fire was started by a resident of the suite who put his cigarette in a trash can without properly extinguishing it. The trash can lit on fire, which set blaze to an adjacent wooden television table and a flat panel TV. The NHFD officer said that, to his knowledge, the residents of the suite were “not in any trouble,” though a student accompanied authorities into the back of a NHFD Fire Investigation truck. No one was injured in the fire and though there was some damage to the room from the fire and the sprinklers, it was “nothing a little Stanley Steemer can’t fix,” the officer said.

Students said the Branford fire alarm went off at 7:11 p.m. When residents evacuated into the Branford courtyard, police officers directed them to exit onto the street. Five fire trucks arrived on the scene shortly after. Smoke billowed out of the entryway and the sprinklers engaged, flooding the basement laundry room. The fire alarm stopped at 7:18 p.m. Authorities have allowed all students to return to their rooms except for those living on the first floor of Entryway G. Authorities said the residents of G-11 will not be allowed back in their suite for one or two nights. NHFD officials are still searching the suite.

As of 9 p.m., Master Steven Smith and Dean Daniel Tauss had not e-mailed the residents of their college.

Bea Koch ’12, who lives in Branford’s entryway D, stood outside one of the south gates of her college wrapped in a towel and wearing flip-flops. She was taking a shower when the alarm began ringing, she said, and could not return to her suite to retrieve proper clothing.

“I literally always think I’m going to get locked out and be standing in the hallway in a towel,” Koch said. “And now I’m standing in front of my college in a towel.”