Paint fumes set off Baker-Berry library alarm system

by Gus Lûbin | 10/19/04 5:00am

Fumes from a library repainting project set off a fire alarm in Baker-Berry Library at 11 a.m. Monday. The complex was evacuated from 11 a.m. to approximately 11:15, when the Hanover Fire Department arrived to turn off the alarm.

The alarm went off when a worker failed to cover the smoke detector or isolate the painting zone while repainting walls on the second floor of Baker, according to Fire Department captain Michael Clark.

"The smoke detector did exactly what it was supposed to," said Clark.

The alarm cut off the tail end of 10-hour classes and delayed 11-hour classes up to 10 minutes. This pushed some midterm exams back, but most classes managed easily.

A small number of classes were left with less time for midterm exams.

"I had to start my History 36 midterm about 15 minutes late, and we weren't allowed to stay after." said Ambika Singh '07. "Unfortunately it was already a really long test."

Professor Gary Lenhart started his English class 10 minutes late, but did not require students to stay late.

"One of my students had to get to a 12-hour midterm," said Lenhart, "and I did not want to make him late."

The evacuation frustrated many students rushing around between classes.

"The alarm went off right when I got to the front of the 10-minute Novack line," said Laura Crowe '08.

Library Business Manager Corky Scott dismissed the alarm as an occasional but unfortunate occurrence resulting from the detectors inability to distinguish between different triggers.

"The detectors are extremely sensitive, but also stupid," said Scott. "They don't know the difference between smoke, dust, water, or, apparently, paint fumes."

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!