A fire engine in front of Ruggles Hal, with its ladder extended towards a third-story window while students look on.

Students last night were forced to evacuate the burning residence hall.

Ruggles Hall decided to do its best impression of our hearts and minds this finals week by setting itself ablaze. At about 11:30 pm last night, Bwog started receiving tips about a growing fire on 114th Street. When windows started to shatter, we could tell that this was not your average false fire alarm. You can follow along with the full coverage of the fire through last night’s tweets.

One of the most afflicted rooms was visibly black with soot and ravaged by the flame. It took about a dozen firefighters for the situation to get the situation under control, and most Ruggles residents were put out of their homes for hours.

As though conspiring to prevent the Fire Department of New York from getting any sleep, another alarm went off in Wien Hall around 1:45 am. Our sources who live in that dorm reported that floors 7, 8, and 9 were “smokey”, but that the situation was resolved relatively quickly; students were able to re-enter after only a half-hour of sleep deprivation.

As one new arrival in Morningside Heights remarked, “I’ve never been to a school that’s so bad at not being on fire.” This semester has been more plagued by an incessant spree of fire alarms, which have spurred a variety of responses from students. But fires have constantly plagued Columbia and Barnard, from the famous 2015 fire which spelled the end of Ollie’s (which was supposedly accidental) to a 2016 Schapiro incident which Public Safety later classified as an arson. Butler Library got a scare in 2014, and Elliot Hall joined the fun in 2016. Has Columbia ever considered not being on fire?

UPDATE, 11/30/17, 6 pm: Earlier this afternoon, Columbia students received an email from Joyce Jackson, Tara Hanna, and Bryan Violetto (Columbia’s Housing Director, Res Life Director, and Fire Safety Facilities and Operations Manager, respectively) with more information on the Ruggles fire. They wrote that the fire started on the third floor of the dorm, due to clothing that was placed on top of a halogen lamp connected to electricity via an extension cord; halogen lamps and extension cords are both prohibited items in Columbia residence halls. This fire, the directors hope, will be a useful incentive for all students to review general fire and kitchen safety procedures. Housing and Res Life also confirmed that the building was evacuated without any reported injuries.

Photo via Bwog Staff