By Janice Tieperman
All eyes were on the University Ridge this past Monday as several apartments caught on fire in the early afternoon.
“Flames had traveled up a wall between buildings nine and ten, also known collectively as Delaware Hall,” reported Bill Cameron of the Pocono Record.
After speaking with Marshalls Creek Fire Chief Joseph Luisi, Cameron additionally determined that building nine specifically was damaged the most.
“Thankfully the fire department was really nice and let us go in and get a lot of our stuff, but it’s kind of heartbreaking,” senior Holly Kuhn told WNEP. “I’ve lived here for two years and like that’s my home in there and it’s gone now.”
ESU’s administration took immediate action in catering to the effected students.
On Tuesday morning, a campus-wide email was distributed addressing the issue.
“Please know that no one was injured in the fire and that the majority of the damage to student belongings and the building was water related,” the email dictated.
“Some people say they smelled smoke that morning but did not think it was fire,” said Zakkery Rome, a University Ridge resident.
“The University’s response time was immediate, but the local fire and police took about 15 minutes,” he continued.
“I actually had to go to the ambulance for a little while because I was having a panic attack pretty much. My heart rate was over the roof,” senior Jessica Condit told WNEP.
ESU has been working to accommodate the affected individuals, as they sent an additional email to all students living in on-campus housing stating that students with roommate vacancies would likely have University Ridge residents moving in with them.
“We’re making accommodations for any displaced students,” said Kenneth Long, Vice President of Administration and Finance at ESU.
“Currently, the students in building ten are waiting at the Budget Inn until they can move back in,” Rome continued.
The students from building nine are being relocated to the traditional and suite residence halls on campus as indicated in the aforementioned email.
“Personally, it has greatly affected me both emotionally and otherwise,” Rome stated.
“I was used to living in an apartment with roommates that I considered to be family, and now we are all separated. I just hope the building can be repaired and all of the students can move back in.”
“As our message on ESU’s homepage states, we’re waiting for further information from the Fire Marshal and from the students that were affected by the fire,” emphasized Brenda Friday, Director of University Relations.
In the midst of the chaos of confusion, the university is on a fast track back to stability.
“We received many calls and emails asking how individuals may help those students displaced by yesterday’s fire at the University Ridge Apartments,” a campus-wide email said.
“We will hope to know more over the next few days as to what the students most affected by the fire will need in the days to come, and we will be sure to share that information with the campus community so we can come together and provide assistance where it is needed most.”
“There has been an amazing outpouring of support from our campus community as well as from neighbors in our local community,” agreed Friday.
Although this incident has left many unanswered questions for ESU, the familial strength of both the campus and surrounding neighborhoods has proven to be a guiding light in leading to campus back to surer footing.
This fire follows another that occurred on Friday evening at Dansbury Commons.
That fire closed the Commons temporarily, forcing students to dine at The Union instead. Dansbury Commons was reopened Saturday morning.
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