Damaged Steam Pipe in the Library Causes Fire Alarm

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fire alarm. Photo courtesy activefirecorp.org.

fire alarm. Photo courtesy activefirecorp.org.

The lyrics to the song “Closing Time” by Semi-Sonic are familiar to the many students who spend their evenings doing homework at the library until its closing time at 12:00am. At 11:58pm on November 29th, students were alerted by a very different sound, the sound of the fire alarm.


The fire alarm at the Library is equipped with drop down metal security doors and multiple flashing fire sirens. The first impressions of many conveyed emotions of confusion and fear. In an unorganized rush, the students in the library and the computer lab evacuated the building. “Yeah, that was pretty scary,” exclaimed student Seiya Tazoe who was studying in the computer lab.

Eight minutes later, fire fighters and police officers came to the scene. After investigation, they found that the source of the problem was steam bursting from a faulty ball valve in a maintenance room pipe.

With steam billowing out of the west side of the library building, several firefighters went downstairs to the maintenance room to repair the pipe, treating the incident as a fire.

Fire fighters repaired the pipe for around 30 minutes and then sent maintenance workers to clean up the scene.

Fire safety is a high priority for the Snow College Department of Public Safety. According to the Annual Security and Fire Report, there was one fire on campus and five fires in campus housing. The 2015 on-campus fire happened in the science building due to a student conducted experiment that ignited. Said Snow College President Gary Carlston of the 2015 science building fire, “We are grateful to report that no one was injured in this incident. Faculty and staff worked diligently to contact each student. This, once again, demonstrates the care our employees have; there truly is a unique spirit at Snow College. We also express our sincere appreciation to the emergency management service responders who demonstrated concern and professionalism in their work.”

In the words of the famous Forest Conservationist Cartoon, Smoky Bear, “Only you can prevent wildfires.” When asked about how fires can be prevented, Public Safety Officer Derek Walk responded, “First, read instructions. If a frozen pizza takes 8 minutes to cook, don’t press the zero button an extra time making it 80 minutes. Be candid with cooking and with anything else that involves heat.”

Students and faculty should know their classroom and housing fire plan. The instructions for the Fire Evacuation Protocol can be found at Snow Colleges website. The first step of the plan is to evacuate the situation. In the Fire Evacuation protocol, the Public Safety Department instructs: “Regardless of the situation, if the fire alarm goes off (horns and strobes), everyone leaves the building! Even if you think it is a false alarm.”

No further information has been reported regarding the cause of the broken pipe or damage of the situation.

The Public Safety Department wishes everyone at Snow College a safe year.

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