By Laura Ingalls
Arizona Daily Wildcat
An 18-year-old student was hospitalized Tuesday morning after her bed caught fire in a UA residence hall room. She was treated and released from the University Medical Center for smoke inhalation and minor burns to her feet and face.
Fire officials did not know what started the fire, which was contained in a second floor room in the Coronado Residence Hall, 822 E. 5th St., said Randy Ogden, Tucson Police Department spokesman. A maintenance mechanic attempted to extinguish the fire shortly after 8 a.m., before firefighters arrived.
Ogden said the investigation will probably be completed within the next few days. He said arson is not being considered as a possibility.
The fire blackened the south wall and ceiling with soot and poster fragments. Soggy carpet squished beneath firefighters feet as they investigated the scene. An estimated $1,200 to the hall and $1,000 in personal belongings were damaged, Ogden said.
The charred mattress, pastel-flowered comforter and gingham pillow lay on the asphalt outside the building, thrown out of a second floor window while officials surveyed the damage.
All of the Coronado residents in the building at the time of the fire, some clad in pajamas and blankets, were evacuated from the building. About 800 students live in Coronado, many of them freshmen who were unfamiliar with fire safety procedures.
University of Arizona Residence Life Director Jim Van Arsdel said Coronado resident assistants had just finished discussing fire safety with the two hall directors when the alarms went off.
Van Arsdel said the hall's test fire drills are scheduled for next week.
The victims and their suite neighbors will be temporarily relocated within the hall until repairs are made. Restoration and cleanup should take about three days, said Colleen Morgan, occupational safety specialist.
Second floor residents were allowed back into their rooms Tuesday.
"This is an important opportunity to tell that people when there is a fire alarm, leave the building," said Beth Bardonner, residence life southwest area coordinator. "Leave, leave, leave the building!"
Two hours after the fire, hall resident assistants were handing out powder-blue room deodorizers to returning hall residents.
The fire also alerted residence life officials to a small leak in Coronado's fire main pipe. Maintenance was repairing the pipe on the scene. Read Next Article