By Tom Z. Spencer
A piercing fire alarm shrieked in Spaulding hall and white lights burst through the windows as firefighters investigated an unidentified haze and strange smell coming from somewhere in the building Sunday night.
An unidentified student who was in Spaulding reported the haze and odor.
Corey Landry, the fire chief of Durham, said something burning in a microwave caused the event.
“I severely doubt it’s microwave popcorn,” Landry said. “There are several labs here, so the microwave could have been being used for something else.”
Firefighters in the building called that information in to him over a radio at around 11:45 p.m.
Exeter, Dover, Lee, Madbury and Newmarket fire departments aided at the scene. A team of about a dozen members of McGregor EMS were set up on the cul-de-sac outside Spaulding with water and snacks for the firefighters who returned from searching.
The student who reported the haze was checked for injuries, but was completely fine. Firefighters found no other students, but Landry pointed out that there were doors in every direction of the building, so people could have exited without checking in with his team.
“Does this mean I don’t have to go to my 8 a.m.?” asked Maggie Lowe, a freshman physics major while she watched the glare of the fire trucks light Spaulding red.
Lowe had a chemistry class in the building the next morning. Landry saw no reason for the building to be closed at the time of the discovery of the source of the problem.