Fire Alarms Going Off Are Not Always a Drill


By Jenni Culkin


Two fire alarm incidents in late February and early March forced students out into the cold. The first fire alarm began to go off during the 6-9 p.m. class time slot on Feb 23 in the Islip Arts building.

According to Ian Fierstein, a liberal arts major looking to declare as an engineering major, the fire alarm went off and students had to wait about 20 minutes before returning to the inside of the building. Fierstein was attending his Literature as a Film lecture during the time of the incident.

“They were walking around trying to figure out what happened,” Fierstein said about the fire fighters that arrived at the scene.

The temperature at the time of the incident was much colder than the second, with 23 degrees Fahrenheit being the average temperature for the day.

The second incident occurred on March 2, around the same time as the first alarm incident during the 6-9 p.m. class time slot, at the Babylon Student Center.

“We were never told what happened,” said Steve Chiavola, a Sachem East High School student who is employed by the Dover Group on campus and was on duty during the time at which the second incident occurred.

According to Chiavola’s recollection, the fire department showed up after the alarm sounded and the fire fighters walked around the building. Public safety waved the students back in after the wait time that Chiavola described as over 15 minutes. Weather archives have shown that March 2 had an average temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit for the day.

Several calls and attempts from a reporter to establish email contact were made with Baycan Fideli, the Director of Fire and Public Safety. Fideli could not be reached for comment during the first attempt to contact. After a call was made to Phillip Sandusky, the Assistant Director of Public Safety and Environmental Health, the effort to collect information was redirected to Mary Lou Araneo, who was unavailable at the time of contact. Instead of receiving a follow up from Araneo, Drew Biondo, the College Communications Director, responded.

“I’ve made inquiries about the records,” said Biondo, “I don’t think there are any.”

Finally, on March 23, contact was made with Christopher Adams, the Vice President of Student Affairs, who redirected the inquiry back to Fideli.

“The 2/23/15 alarm [incident] at Islip Arts was a fire alarm that was caused by a spray from a can (hair spray) that set off the detector,” said Fideli during the second attempt to contact. “Particles can activate the detectors.”

Additionally, Fideli explained the cause of the second fire as well.

“The 3/2/15 Babylon detector was activated by a faulty pull station,” Fideli said. “As to the timing (evening) that is only a coincidence.”

At this time, it is unclear why Fideli was unable to be reached for comment during the first attempt for contact. Biondo’s inability to produce records is also not clear at this time.

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