At 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, residents of Escondido Village Graduate Residence Building A (EVGR-A) were partially evacuated from the building in response to a fire on the eighth floor. The Palo Alto Fire Department (PAFD) and the Stanford University Department of Public Safety told students that it was safe to return to their rooms about an hour later.
PAFD spokesperson William Dale confirmed that the fire was caused by a minor accident in a resident’s room on the eighth floor.
“It appears someone was burning incense and it fell into a small can causing the paper to ignite and smolder,” Dale said. The incident did not cause any injuries or damage to the building.
Rachel Leou ’23, who lives on the eighth floor, had to go down the stairwell and evacuate from her room.
“The hallway is kind of smoky,” she said. Leou also said that as she was waiting for word from her Resident Assistant to go back upstairs, she saw other students entering the building while the alarm was still going off.
While Dale told The Daily that “the incident and evacuation was only limited” to the eighth floor, the fire alarms for the floors above and below the affected floor are also usually set off. The EVGR fire alarm does not typically activate the entire building.
Rachel Greene ’21 M.S. ’22 was sitting in her room on the seventh floor when suddenly, “an intercom came over and said that we needed to leave and that the elevators were not to be used,” she said. “Some of us smelled smoke, but at that point we still thought it was just a drill.”
Brandon Jaimes ’22, who lives on the seventh floor, recounted a similar experience. “The alarm started going off, they told us to evacuate down the stairwell, so everyone got evacuated,” he said. Jaimes and his friends also walked around the entire building and could not see any fire from the outside.
“It doesn’t seem like there’s much lockdown, apart from the seventh and eighth floors,” he said.
The fire department arrived about 15 to 20 minutes after students were evacuated, Greene said. After the incident, it took about one and a half hours to “turn the building back over to the students and repopulate,” Dale said.