Students living in Gramercy Green residence hall were evacuated at approximately 8 p.m. on Saturday after a fire broke out on the sixth floor. A seemingly harmless lit candle resulted in fire, smoke and water damage that affected several dorm rooms as well as the HSBC bank located on the first floor of the dorm.
One student suffered minor burns after attempting to put out the fire and was taken to the hospital. Overhead sprinklers in the rooms were activated and eventually extinguished the fire with the help of building staff, who used fire extinguishers.
“We should take last night’s incident as a lesson,” said NYU vice president for public affairs John Beckman. “For that reason, we want to remind students again that candles are strictly prohibited.”
The water damage has mostly been repaired after university employees utilized wet vacuums and air blowers. Water build-up also cause ceiling tiles in the HSBC bank located beneath Gramercy to erode and fall to the ground. The same university employees were able to wet vacuum the floor and clean the fallen ceiling tile inside the bank.
Daniel Walsh, a Steinhardt sophomore and Gramercy resident, said students exited the building after the smoke set off alarms.
“I think it freaked everybody out in Gramercy,” Walsh said. “Everyone always says not to light candles, but sometimes I think we forget that there can be really serious repercussions.”
Most of the damage has been repaired, but the university is still working to restore the room where the fire started. However, the entire dorm is fully accessible.
In an email to the university, Marc Wais reminded students that the incident provied the severity of fire within dorm rooms and reminded the student body that students will face disciplinary action if caught using candles in the residence halls.
“Candles have proven to be a tremendous fire safety danger in college dorms. Residents have a responsibility both to themselves and to fellow residents to avoid this hazard — don’t use candles, and don’t permit others to use candles,” said Wais. “To be clear: we will take disciplinary action against those who use candles in the residence halls.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 19 print edition. Tatiana Baez is deputy university editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.