The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Students evacuated from Sierra Hall, Oviatt Library

Fire alarms went off in two campus buildings yesterday afternoon in what appear to be unrelated incidents.

Students evacuated Sierra Hall and the Oviatt Library after alarms were heard at about 11:55 and 11:50 a.m. respectively in the buildings.

Bobby Jeromin, a creative writing major, was in his playwriting class in Sierra Hall when the alarm sounded.

“We must have been listening to it for two minutes straight” before the class evacuated the building, he said. There was “no sense of urgency whatsoever,” said Jeromin, and because (the sound) was so quiet, it (didn’t) alarm anyone.” When he and other students arrived outside, there was “no smoke or anything,” he said.

Students began re-entering Sierra Hall shortly after 12 p.m.

A member of emergency response who asked not to be named said an “outside contractor” who had been painting room 150 in Sierra Hall accidentally triggered the alarm.

“The system is sensitive,” he said, and “any kind of dust” might set it off. No explanation has been given for the alarms at the library.

Alarms sounded at the Oviatt Library three times and escalators stopped running, said Jayanah, who declined to give his last name.

He was in a study room on the third floor when he heard the first alarm around 11:50 a.m., he said. About 15 minutes after students returned to the building, the alarm went off a second time and a short time later, a third time.

Someone came into their study room to tell students to evacuate, he said, and there were staff members in orange vests directing students outside to the front of the library.

Senior finance major Sulaiman Fofana, who was studying with Jayanah, said an announcement to evacuate was heard over the loudspeaker system and within “one or two minutes,” the building was cleared.

“Everyone was safe,” he said. “The library (staff) did a good job.”

Ron Norton, director of environmental health and safety, said typically there are volunteers within each department that receive emergency training as building and floor marshals to help evacuate students and staff.

Any problems with the alarm systems, such as low volume or broken pull stations, are monitored and reported to physical plant management and facility services, he said.

“If an alarm pull station doesn’t work, we’ll fix it that day,” he said, but alarm horns are more “difficult and more costly to repair.”

Norton said the floor marshals “fill in where people don’t hear the alarms,” and older buildings such as Sierra Hall, Jerome Richfield and the Sierra Tower have older and quieter systems. Alarm systems are also improved when buildings are renovated, he said.

Rebecca and Sam Rabizadeh, who are family members, were talking with each other in the main entrance of Sierra Hall after students returned to the building.

“We saw people in the hall leaving,” said Sam Rabizadeh, a biology major. He and other students were told to evacuate after the alarms sounded.

Rebecca Rabizadeh, undecided major, said she did not see anyone in Sierra Hall wearing vests. Her professor waited until all the students in the class exited the room before leaving, she said.

“The alarms need to be louder,” she said, adding that there should be a “better way” to evacuate students.

However, one staff member who works on the fourth floor of Sierra Hall in the dean’s office and declined to be named, said the alarm was “very loud.”

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