On Oct. 8 around 9:30 a.m., a burning smell swept throughout the north end of the Bronco Student Center (BSC), causing students and employees alike to voluntarily evacuate the area as a safety precaution.
David Quezada, associate director of operations for ASI, stated the burning odor was the result of contractors misplacing temporary venting equipment that was supposed to lead the welding odors to the rooftops, but instead discharged the burning smell into air vents and into the residing areas.
For the most part, students and employees evacuated on their own. Students from the Games Room Etc., Round Table and a few others from the food court were reported to have walked out.
Students in the BSC described the smell as an intense smoke-like odor, which prompted the reaction to evacuate.
Renan Viguilla, a fourth-year science, technology and society major, said he wasn’t sure how to react since no one reacted at first.
“I was sitting at the couch area and it smelled like something was burning,” Viguilla said. “It was probably a gradual build up, but it was strong and hard to ignore. I wasn’t sure what to think since no one was reacting. Other people were just as confused, but it clicked clear that I need(ed) to exit out.”
Once evacuated, students waited for approximately 45 minutes while fire trucks were on stand-by for safety precaution.
Maintenance workers went around the BSC and propped doors open with wind tunnel fans to dissipate the odor.
Although the incident was more of a minor inconvenience than it was a disaster, students reported going through confusion and uncertainty.
No serious injuries were reported in the wake of the incident. However, students did report having headaches or difficulty breathing, according to Quezada.
In the event of an actual emergency in the BSC, students should expect clear instructions over the loudspeaker to evacuate the premises.
The sound alarm will go off as well and staff will instruct and lead students to safety.
Update: In the printed version, Renan Viquilla’s major is incorrectly listed as computer information systems. He is a science, technology and society student.
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