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Williams Hall overcomes second floor fire

Williams Hall

On Jan. 11, Williams Hall experienced an unexpected fire on the second floor of their laundry room. Students were quickly told to evacuate the scene  and relocate to Hotels in Chesterfield, Virginia.

A resident assistant (RA) from Williams Hall described how the fire caused chaos for the dorm.

“I was getting residents out fast, keeping a headcount of everyone, getting students a room at a hotel, checking in students at the hotel, checking in students who hadn’t come back for the Spring semester, and reassuring them and their parents; that’s some of the responsibilities we had as RA’s,” the RA said.

The RA’s of the dormitory had to take immediate action and help the residents exit the building.

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“I had to remind everyone that we were all stressed and that the students making jokes about the situation had no other way of coping,” the RA said.

“I kept in the back of my mind that no one got hurt.”

In the midst of  the chaotic event all VSU students were to report back to classes on Jan. 16, 2024. There were students who previously were housed in Williams Hall and were relocated at off campus hotels and had not yet returned to their dorms.

Even though no one was injured during the fire, other issues began to arise.

Students who do not have reliable transportation on and off campus had to ride the VSU Shuttle. The temporary change affected some in many ways that they did not ever expect.

“My mental health has taken a decline, but it didn’t hit until the next few nights. I feel alone here at the hotel honestly.”

“Most of my friends are back on campus, and having to adhere to my class schedule along with my bus schedule. It sucks not being able to see them as much as I want to,” RA said.

Besides the housing shift, students impacted by the fire still had to maintain a  regular class schedule and follow the VSU shuttle bus schedule for transportation until they were allowed back inside their dorm.

“I have to take it one day at a time, having to wake up earlier for the shuttle and breakfast isn’t fun either.”

Students had to be removed out of the building just a few days before classes began. There were some students who were able to find somewhere to stay on campus whether that was with a friend/family member.

“All of the residents were safely evacuated from the building, and all of the residents had a choice to either come to the hotel or find separate accommodations the night of the fire. Afterwards, residents who were not checked in came to the hotel to get checked in and have housing.” VSU Student RA said.

Currently the conditions have improved greatly. Even after the fire, VSU has

worked with students. 

Due to the fact that students could have lost their valuables because of the fire, there are reimbursements for any items that have been damaged.

Through the chaos, this situation turned out to be a learning lesson for the RA.

“In a way, it helped me be more disciplined throughout the day.”

Despite the tragic situation, the students who were housed there were able to return back to Williams Hall on Jan. 26, 2024.

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