At around 10:28 p.m. the fire alarm at Heritage Park Towers (HPT) went off, prompting residents of the building to evacuate.
“It started on the first floor in the laundry room in HPT’s south tower. What lit on fire was one of the dryers,” said resident Lorenzo Biondo, who was in the laundry room when the fire started.
“I was in the [laundry] room, and I saw smoke,” continued Biondo. “We opened the dryer that the smoke was coming from and there was a fire in the back of the machine that started to get bigger.”
According to firefighter Raquel Lea, the laundry room will most likely be closed off for an unknown amount of time as the fire sprinkler system has since flooded the room.
The fire alarm went off within a minute of opening the dryer.
“I believe it was an RA who pulled the fire alarm. It happened relatively quickly,” Biondo said.
As residents began to evacuate the building, they crowded on the breezeway.
“I instructed them to move towards the volleyball courts,” said HPT resident assistant Christine Robinson, “which is the protocol we are taught as a resident assistant.”
Resident Darien Strevel described their experience while evacuating the building.
“I walked down to the first floor and it was really hot,” they said.
Amaya Swelland, a first floor resident of Heritage Park Towers was scared by the fire.
“I was sitting at my computer and suddenly I heard an alarm,” Swelland stated. “I ran out to the hall and there was smoke everywhere. I heard people saying that it was a dryer, which made sense because the laundry room is located on my floor.”
Around 11:12 p.m., several firemen collectively pulled out the heavy dryer that started the fire. There was an audible cheer from the residents of HPT, who were still gathered outside of the building. Many residents began clapping.
As of 1:30 a.m., students are still evacuated outside of the building.