On Jan. 31, 2022 around 4:30 p.m., the fire alarm went off in MC’s Carnegie Hall. Acting as normal, students in the building at the time made their way into the parking lot. Most students were unaware of the reality of the alarm until Maryville Fire and Police departments arrived on the scene.
RAs messaged their students about the issue, letting them know that they “[were] continuing to assess the situation,” according to Sara Skibbie’s message to her 2nd Floor Carnegie group chat. She informed students that no one was allowed to enter the building, and updates would be shared as needed.
That night, President Coker sent an email explaining the situation, where he claimed that students within the building were evacuated smoothly and efficiently. No one was hurt, but students were scared for their friends, belongings and especially pets.
Sara Skibbie, 2nd floor RA, was not at home when the alarm went off. Her cat, Belle, was inside for a period of time, until a staff member was able to escort Sara into the building to get her.
Coker also revealed that, “the sprinkler system released a substantial amount of water in the center section of the building.” All students living in rooms unaffected by the water damage were permitted to be escorted through the building for emergency supplies. RD Twitch told students to plan for a few nights out, according to sophomore Mackenzie Nicholas, since they weren’t sure how bad the damages were.
“The cause of the fire alarm and sprinkler system activation is under investigation,” Coker wrote. As of yet, there has been no follow-up email on the cause of this disaster.
Director of Campus Life Doniqua Chen also sent an email that night. She stated, “Understanding that some students might make plans to head home, we do wish to support students who desire to remain on campusm, or otherwise do not have a local option.”
Chen was hopeful that students would be able to return by Feb. 1. Although Chen did not list housing options in this email, students such as Alayna Myers and her suitemates are staying in Court Street Apartments until the end of the semester. According to Myers, rooms 204, 208, 404 and 408 should be moving back to Carnegie about a month after the incident. Myers and her suitemates, who occupied rooms 304 and 308, could not return to campus due to water damage collapsing their bathroom ceiling.
President Coker sent another email on Feb. 1, stating that Carnegie was deemed safe and returnable except for eight students. RA duties continued starting at 8 p.m. that night, and students were to stay aware of how well their electricity and water were working. Students such as Nicholas could not return home until the morning of Feb. 2 because the power was out in her room, 205.
On Feb. 9, the college ran a sprinkler test to set the building back in order so that students could be protected from a repeat situation.
“Our goal is to return Carnegie to safe and operational status as quickly as possible for the 95 residents who call it home,” Coker wrote.
In all, everyone did their best to provide housing and support for all students affected by the tragedy.