Author: Tyler Kearn
Most kinds of pranks are funny, but there are some that aren’t. Setting a fire inside a dorm is one of the latter. In fact, any kind of prank that causes destruction to property or puts people in danger is just plain stupid.
On September 22, someone set a fire in a plastic trash can inside of Haines. It was clearly done intentionally, because all the trash from that can had been thrown on the ground and it had been moved into the middle of the hallway. The fire alarm went off and everybody got out of the building, but by the time some quick-thinking students rushed up there with a fire extinguisher and put it out, the entire dorm was filled with smoke, the whole hallway was coated with dust and the bottom of the trash can had melted into the carpet.
Nobody was hurt and no personal belongings were destroyed, but this could easily not have been the case. We have all heard the statistics of how quickly a dorm room can burn down. These statistics are not made up-fire destroys things with frightening speed. Very serious damage could have been done.
As it was, students were forced to leave their rooms at 1:30 in the morning and stand outside in the cold night air for 45 minutes, only to go inside and breathe irritating smoke that did not fully dissipate for two days. The dust had to be cleared from every nook of the hallway, and the carpet had to be replaced because the plastic had been burned into it.
What’s worse for Haines residents is that, unless the perpetrators can be identified, they will all be charged for this damage to the hall. Not only did this prank damage the hall, pose a health risk to those who lived there and have the potential to destroy people’s belongings, but the very people who suffered from it might be the people who have to pay for it. If you find that funny, then you have issues.
This kind of thing happens more often than most people even realize. According to the “Guide to Campus Safety,” the little booklet that we all got in our mailboxes at some point last week, there were six reported arsons in the residence halls last year and one more in the greater general campus area. It seems completely ridiculous that there were seven arsons last year. Who can possibly think that setting buildings on fire is an OK idea?
I cannot think of a good reason for someone to do this in the first place. I have been calling it a “prank,” but I don’t really know the motivations behind these actions. Maybe they were dared to by their friends, or perhaps they wanted to roast marshmallows in the hallway and did not think that a plastic trash can would possibly melt and set of the smoke alarms-I don’t know. Regardless, any reason I can come up with seems like a bad one because, reasoning aside, what the person did is wrong.
Any action that damages the school, endangers people’s possessions or puts their health at risk is completely f–ked up. Any action that does all three is unforgivable.
Tyler Kearn is an undeclared sophomore. He can be reached at [email protected]
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