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Harmon Hall stove fire leads to student evacuation 

The fire department outside of Harmon Hall. Photo Credit: Cambrie Eckert
The fire department outside of Harmon Hall. Photo Credit: Cambrie Eckert

On Tuesday evening, a stove fire erupted in the kitchen of Harmon Hall, leading to the evacuation of students as thick smoke engulfed the residence hall. 

Monroe St. was temporarily closed off by University Police as ambulances and firefighters responded to the incident. According to Brockport Fire Chief Jose Medina, by the time the fire department arrived, the fire had already been successfully extinguished with no reported injuries. 

“There was a small fire on the stove in the kitchen area,” Medina said. “One of the students actually put it out with a dry chem. We’re having a heavy smoke emission throughout the whole building. We’re clearing it out and working with the investigators, just to do their part for insurance purposes. Most of the students were evacuated when I got here after the alarm was activated.” 

Around 7:18 p.m., the fire triggered at least two fire alarms within the building. 

“Anything over two alarms, two smoke heads, the fire department is already alerted. Anything that is only one smoke head for an area, only University Police comes, so that we’re not here five times a day or 15 times a week for silly stuff,” Medina said. 

At 8:02 p.m., Medina said it would take some time to clear out the building. 

“We don’t know at this point,” Medina said. “The State Fire Department is out here; we’re working with them and Facilities to get it cleaned up, just because of the dry chem that was dumped, and go from there. Hopefully in the next hour, hour and a half, students will be able to go back inside.” 

Students, like SUNY Brockport freshman Amelia Merulla, were evacuated from both Gordon and Harmon Hall to the Harrison Dining Hall until further notice.  

“We’re in Harmon on the first floor, and when the alarms went off, we left,” Merulla said. “We saw a fire in the kitchen, and then we walked out. There was a lot of smoke. We didn’t see much, but it was a lot of smoke, and a lot of people couldn’t see through it.” 

Many students evacuated to the dining hall were worried about how long it would take to clear out the building. 

“Everyone came here at first, but our [Resident Assistant] just texted us and said they wanted everyone to come here,” Merulla said. “I have no idea how long we’re going to be here for. We were already talking about if we would have to stay at a friend’s dorm or something, but we don’t know yet.” 

At 9:08 p.m., SUNY Brockport assistant vice president for communications John Follaco released a statement to the Brockport community: 

“There was a small kitchen fire this evening in Harmon Hall. Thankfully no injuries were reported and there was minimal damage to the residence hall kitchen. Harmon and Gordon Halls were evacuated while the smoke cleared. The buildings have now been cleared for students to re-enter. A special thank you to the residents of Harmon and Gordon Halls for their patience and to our first responders for their assistance.” 

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Cambrie Eckert, News Editor
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