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Eight students displaced overnight after microwave mishap sparks fire in Baits II
Updated On: Jun 15, 2010

Eight students displaced overnight after microwave mishap sparks fire in Baits II

Sam Wolson/Daily
Lieutenant Carl Hein of the Ann Arbor City Fire Department shows where a team of firefighters threw a burning mattress out the window of a room in Baits II earlier this afternoon.

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By: Devon Thorsby
Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 24th, 2010

This is a breaking story. Check michigandaily.com for updates throughout the day.

Sam Wolson/Daily
A hallway in Baits II, where firefighters had to bring in a firehose and flood with water.

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Eight students are unable to return to their rooms tonight after a microwave mishap set a Baits II Residence Hall room on fire.

University Police spokeswoman Diane Brown confirmed that fire alarms went off in Cross House in Baits II Residence Hall just before 3 p.m. today for what was later deemed a structural fire by the Ann Arbor Fire Department. No injuries were reported.

The fire started when a student tried to reheat food in a container in his microwave, Brown said. After a few moments, the food and container caught fire.

Brown said the student stopped the microwave and tried to remove the container when some of the burning material dropped onto a pile of clothes on the floor. That is when, according to Brown, “everything ignited.”

The student ran out of the room and was uninjured, Brown said.

Because Cross House is not yet equipped with a sprinkler system, firefighters used a hose to put out the fire, according to Brown.

LSA freshman Ankur Shah said he was walking from his room in Baits I when he saw a ladder leading up to a window at Cross House. According to Shah, the window appeared to be broken in, and smoke was pouring out.

Shah said he and other students observed that smoke continued to come out of the room for longer than he expected.

“We thought the fire was out,” he said, “but apparently it wasn’t.”

Brown said that much of the work firefighters did involved smoke clearance and ensuring there were no flames behind walls and deep within the structure of the building.

She said the room where the fire started as well as the hallway where the room was located, were damaged by fire — with minor water damages to other rooms in that hall. No other floors were affected.

While she does not yet have an estimate as to the cost of damages, Brown said some electrical and structural repairs will be required.

“The fixtures in the hallway are all melted,” Brown said. “But the student’s room had the most damage. There’s really no other way to describe how it looked than to say his room is destroyed.”

At 6 p.m. students in Cross House were allowed back into their rooms, except for the students who live in the affected hallway, Brown said. University Housing is working with those eight students to secure them temporary housing at various residence halls on campus.

— Chelsea Lange and Managing Photo Editor Sam Wolson contributed to this report.


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