Dryer, Dryer, Pants on Fire

Updated: Mar 9

by Charlie Wicks

The aftermath of the fire, with clothes strewn everywhere (Image via the Purchase Fire Department)

With heavy smoke filling the Outback laundry room, firefighters tread carefully as residents evacuated the building.

Students in Outback awoke to fire alarms early March 1 after a clothes dryer went up in flames. The Outback residents were evacuated, just before Purchase police and the campus fire department arrived on the scene.

According to the Purchase Fire Department, officers quickly extinguished the fire and secured the gas supply to the dryer. The adjoining areas were checked for any fire extension and ventilation was provided to alleviate the heavy smoke condition.

The sudden alarm quickly annoyed Christopher Wygonik, a music major and resident of Outback.

“All of the residents were standing out close to the building, then when it was discovered there was a fire we were told to move quite far away,” he said. “Firetrucks kept rolling in along with police cars. Most of the residents were in groups, and many actually left due to how long the situation was taking to go on a walk or get food.”

The victim of the incident, whose clothes were burnt, declined to be interviewed.

The actual cause of the fire isn’t known. Dayton Tucker, Chief of Purchase police, sent out an email to students a few hours following the fire:

Fire trucks on scene at Outback (Purchase Fire Department)

“Please note that this morning there was a dryer fire in the Outback residence hall. Fortunately, no one was hurt, there was no other damage beyond the dryer, and the Purchase Fire Department came quickly to our aid,” according to the email.

Dryer fires aren’t a common occurrence here at Purchase. The most common fires on campus have been cooking-related, according to Purchase College annual fire reports. Seven of the nine fires from 2017-2019 have been in residential kitchens.

Students who are now worried due to the incident should review their residence halls, detailed evacuation plans in case of a fire, along with fire prevention tips available on the Purchase website.

The most common dryer fires are caused by a failure to clean leftover lint and clothing particles, according to the U.S Fire Administration.

“I do believe the school did enough to warn students. In addition to being told at meetings, there are signs posted in the laundry room everywhere to empty lint trays,” Wygonik said.

Should students encounter smoke or fire on campus, they should immediately call UPD at the emergency number: (914) 251-6911

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