University Students Locked-In During Fire Alarm
Students living in a new residence building of Carleton University are feeling a bit uneasy since Wednesday morning.
Around 1 a.m. the fire alarm sounded in the new Lennox-Addington building but when 18 students tried to evacuate their rooms on the eighth floor, the emergency exit doors wouldn't open. In fact, they were locked shut from the inside out. Some students were trapped inside an elevator lobby between two wings of the floor and also couldn't get out through the doors.
After a call to campus security, officers tried to open the doors unsuccessfully and tried kicking them in. It was only about 15 minutes after the fire alarm sounded, that the doors were unlocked and students could exit, but the entire experience has rattled their nerves. One student told the Ottawa Citizen, they didn't know if it was a fire drill or a real working fire. If that was the case, those students trapped may have been in real danger. Another student says she broke out into tears thinking about the alternative.
The fire alarm was deliberately pulled and the University says criminal charges may be laid on a possible suspect.
The university sent an email out to students, faculty and staff on Wednesday afternoon, confirming that the three automatic door release mechanisms malfunctioned and the locks were manually deactivated within about 10 minutes. The director of university safety, Allan Burns apologized to students in the email, adding that counselling support will be provided to anyone who needs it.