Basement Fire in BWC

Cici Chagnon (

On Wednesday, November 17, students living in Brodbeck, Wilkinson, and Curtis Halls (BWC) were evacuated due to a fire that erupted in the basement of Brodbeck. Campus Safety responded to the fire alarms around 6:00 p.m and discovered a water bottle lit on fire inside a recycling bin. Approximately ten to fifteen minutes later, the Collegeville Fire Department arrived at the scene.

In an email sent to the freshman residents on Thursday, November 18, Assistant Director of Residence Life, Rose Roberts, stated that there may have been additional attempts to start a fire as well. “There was other paraphernalia discovered that indicates there may have been another attempt to start a fire in another recycling bin.” The email went on to remind students of prohibited items in the residence halls, as well as the colleges’ expectations regarding fire safety.

Jess Nguyen ‘25 was in the building when the alarm went off. “I left my room and all the doors to the entrance up the stairs were closed,” she exclaimed. “So, everyone was evacuating the building, and everyone was standing outside, and that’s when Campus Safety came over,” Nguyen added. Officials carried the bin out of the basement and it was discovered that someone used a match to light an item on fire. 

Sierra Hufnagle ‘25, a resident of BWC, saw the fire department outside of the hall when coming back from track practice. “It smelled like smoke a lot and it was pretty awful especially because we were on the third floor and still smelled the smoke from the basement. It kind of sucks that we’re literally grown adults. It could have gone worse and actually hurt people,” Hufnagle concluded. 

The Grizzly reached out to Campus Safety three times and did not receive answers to the questions asked. However, both Campus Safety and Residence Life said adamantly that they are taking this incident extremely seriously. Anyone with further information on the fire is encouraged to contact either department.