Ray Hall fire ends in injury, $10K in estimated damage

The Waynesburg Franklin Township fire department responded to a fire in a Waynesburg University dormitory Tuesday evening.

The fire began in the “apartment kitchen” of Ray Hall around 6 p.m. from a woman cooking. The sprinkler system turned on in the kitchen and put the fire out, according to Fire Chief Jeff Marshall. By the time the fire department dispatched two firetrucks to the scene, Marshall said students were properly evacuated from the building. One student, Marshall said, was taken to the hospital in an ambulance with “slight” burns on her face and front of her body.

The fire was quickly contained, due to the efforts of the sprinkler system and firefighters. Because of this, Marshall said most of the damage to Ray Hall isn’t due to the fire itself.

“There is probably $10,000 [worth of] damage,” Marshall said. “There is water damage and smoke damage—that kind of stuff. But there isn’t a lot of actual fire damage.”

Once on scene, Marshall said the fire department shut off the water, replaced the sprinkler head and cleared the building of smoke. By the time the fire department left, Marshall said the alarms and suppression systems were back online.

“They are going to worry about getting the building reoccupied and go from there,” Marshall said.

Chris Hardie, assistant Dean of Student Services, said the woman who was taken to the hospital returned to campus Tuesday evening, but he doesn’t know her current condition.

“Late last night she was doing OK,” Hardie said. “She was out of the hospital and back on campus, but the exact conditions I don’t know at this point.”

Matt Pioch, director of Housing, was at the scene of the fire and said students were readmitted into Ray Hall shortly after 7 p.m.

“We let Ray residence back in and we just had them not using the main entrance simply because we were trying to clear out all of the water,” Pioch said. “Only the one sprinkler went off—it didn’t create a chain of sprinklers and that sort of thing, so, for the most part, the hall was pretty well maintained throughout the fire.”

Pioch said the extent of the damage caused by the fire isn’t entirely known yet, though water caused most of it.

“There is probably more water damage than there is fire damage because just whenever a sprinkler goes out it is a lot of water on the carpet and that sort of thing,” Pioch said. “But, I wouldn’t say it was extremely significant by any means.”

Facilities Services have begun renovating the damaged areas of Ray Hall. While Pioch said he doesn’t know when the building will be completely restored, it will most likely be complete in a week.

“Right now, they are just trying to get all that water out of the carpet,” Pioch said. “There is a drop ceiling in the kitchen, so that is all going to be ripped out and they are going to put new ceiling tiles in. Other than that, it’s probably just a lot of scrubbing and getting the ash out of things.”