A Dixie State University student spent the night at the Nisson Towers after his portable charger caught fire in his Campus View Suites dorm room Friday night.
The St. George Fire Department responded to a call in the late hours of the night, arriving on the scene at Campus View Suites at 11:43 p.m.
Fire Battalion Chief Darren Imlay said the fire was caused by an external battery pack charging and overheating. Room 303 was filled with smoke as apartment residents rushed to close the door.
The owner of the charger had left for Georgefest and returned to find police officers and firefighters questioning his roommates. Taylor McKinley, a sophomore media studies major from West Jordan, said he had plugged the charger into an extension cord and left it on his bed. McKinley said he could hear alarms going off in the direction of campus while walking home from Swig.
McKinley said the only items that got damaged were his bed sheets and mattress, but he stayed at Nisson Towers while cleanup took place because of the residue from the fire extinguisher.
The interior alarms did not sound on most floors, which left students confused as only a fraction heard the outdoor alarms.
“At first I could smell smoke,” said Regina Burgess, a sophomore media studies major from Phoenix. “I ended up leaving my room because I could faintly hear alarms, but they didn’t sound in the hall or my room like they usually do.”
Policemen went door-to-door to evacuate residents. Imlay said the alarms did not go off thanks to the quick thinking of residents in room 303.
“On arrival, we found the fire had been put out by [the resident] manager with a [fire] extinguisher,” Imlay said. “It was a very small fire and they shut the door, which is smart because that can control the fire and [keep it from] spreading. But it also keeps the smoke from coming out and hitting the detector.”
Imlay said after ensuring the building was safe for residents, students were not allowed back into their rooms until the smoke and dust from the extinguisher had cleared.
McKinley said he had to buy a new mattress and new bed sheets.