A fire broke out in Sycamore Suites on Sunday, Sept. 23. A group of students who were reportedly cooking in the fourth-floor kitchen, spilled oil on the stove, igniting the blaze.
The smoke and flames caused by the fire triggered the smoke alarm. The sprinkler system was also activated on the fourth floor.
The building was immediately evacuated, and the Stroudsburg fire department and university police responded to the scene.
According to one Sycamore resident, they were not allowed to reenter the building until nearly an hour and a half later.
“Having to wait outside for an hour and thirty minutes on a Sunday is unacceptable,” said Shade Stokes-Campbell, a resident of Sycamore. “It is especially annoying because I live close to the affected area. Now because of the sprinklers, my hallway is flooded.”
The sprinklers were only activated on the fourth floor. However, the flooding seeped down onto the third and second floors as well.
There is significant water damage on each floor concentrated in the areas around the elevators, which are across from the floor kitchen.
Campbell also noted the inconvenience of the computers being removed from the computer labs in that area of the suite. As a result of smoke and water damage, the computers in the vicinity of the fire were destroyed.
Several residents of Sycamore stated they believed the flooding to be a fault of the design of the sprinkler system or a flaw in the structural integrity of the building.
This is not the first time there has been flooding in sycamore suites. In April of 2018, Charlese Freeman, Student Life editor of the Stroud Courier reported on a similar incident where sprinklers were activated in the fourth-floor kitchen.
In this instance, there was also severe flooding on the second third and fourth floors of the building. Students were required to evacuate at one in the morning and were not allowed back in until three hours later.
According to Freeman’s story, the Resident Director of Sycamore at the time, Rachel DiStefano, stated that the incident was not caused by students but also was not a result of a flaw in the building’s design.
This most recent flooding in Sycamore, the newest building on campus, is the third time the building has flooded since its opening in the fall of 2017.
Curtis Dugar, the director of Residential and Dining Services, said that the fire last Sunday was a result of user error and that the party responsible had come forward and admitted to their mistake. He added that the fire and flooding were not generated by any flaw in the structure of the building or fault in the alarm or sprinkler system.
In regards to the active repairs and the absence of computers in that area of the building, Dugar said that although it is an inconvenience, accidents happen and that restorations are being made as fast as possible. He went on to state that he hopes to see the repairs to the building completed by the end of October or early November.
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