Students of N Block, James College, were evacuated in the early hours of Monday morning, after a fire alarm was set off by a student burning paper in his room.
The alarm first sounded at 1am, causing around 70 students to congregate outside the front of the building.
After a short delay, members of security and the James College porter met with students outside the building.
They announced that a fire engine was on its way in line with University policy—any fire alarms set off after 9pm cause a fire-engine to be dispatched automatically.
The fire service appeared on the scene 10 minutes later and entered the building with university staff to seek the cause of the alarm.
The fire fighter and university staff emerged soon after, announcing to the crowd: “Boredom is not an excuse for setting light to paper in your room. Would the student responsible please come and find me after this.”
Students were then allowed to return to the building.
Many had clearly been awoken by the alarm, and had been forced to stand in the cold in just dressing gowns. Many others seemed to have just returned from a night out.
One student commented: “I’d just gone off to sleep. It took me a minute to realize the alarm was actually going off and wasn’t just in my dream.”
Another added: “Whoever is responsible for this deserves to be punished. They’ve caused a lot of hassle.”
Further confusion then broke out, when approximately 25 minutes later, the alarm sounded again.
Students re-congregated outside of the building along with college staff. It was announced that the smoke from the first incident was obviously still in the system, and that the fire service had been told not to return.
Shortly after, students were allowed to return to their rooms.
Speaking to Nouse on the scene after the 2nd alarm, a member of security revealed that a student had come forward, taking responsibility for the original incident.
Asked if any action would be taken against the student responsible, he stated: “The matter will be referred to a senior officer within the facilities and health and safety department, and any action deemed necessary will be taken by them.”
It is possible that a large fine may be placed upon the student. The university website specifies: “If fire crews have been called out unnecessarily, and taking into account all the circumstances of the case, a charge of up to £476 may be levied on the student.”