Campus Fire Marshal and Calhoun Lofts staff took quick action to correct the problem that resulted in Tuesday night’s evacuation of floors eight through 10 of the building.
Confusion remained among administrators about the cause of the smoke in building until Thursday’s official Fire Marshal investigation.
Maintenance replaced the bad unit on Wednesday morning. The replacement unit came at no cost to the Lofts due to its warranty.
Calhoun Lofts has 744 air and heating units total, one per room. Ninth floor units were inspected following the incident.
The building’s staff monitors its air and heating units on the computer using OpenTech Control and Security Solutions.
The high-tech system depicts any unit in the building, showing how the motor is operating. The program senses and records alerts in addition to printing work orders.
“It’s a fabulous way to monitor,” Assistant Director of Residential Life and Housing Abeer Mustafa said.
Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Elwyn Lee said it’s inconvenient for students to have to evacuate, and he doesn’t want it to become a pattern.
Mustafa e-mailed Loft residents on Wednesday night informing them that a fan motor had malfunctioned, thanking them for their cooperation and apologizing for any inconvenience. Some residents say they never received the e-mail.
Mustafa said it was a manufacturing error and that Pepper Lawson, Calhoun Lofts’ building company, would check if the product was recalled.
The official Fire Marshal investigation said the problem “was not a manufacturing malfunction.”
Assistant Fire Marshal Joe Tremont said the motor housing broke, putting the unit in a bind. There was never a fire, but the unit overheated and shut down. The smoke from the overheating set off the alarms.
“These sorts of things happen quite often,” Tremont said.