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PAUL closes in Western Market
By Ella Mitchell, Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

JBKO residents evacuated for hours after kitchen fire

Camille DeSanto | Assistant Photo Editor
Officials placed dehumidifiers and fans throughout the building to dry areas where the fire was extinguished before residents could reenter at about 11:30 p.m., according to an email officials sent to residents Sunday.

D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to a kitchen fire in JBKO Hall that forced residents to evacuate for more than four hours Sunday night.

Dozens gathered outside JBKO as police vehicles and at least seven firetrucks arrived after the fire triggered an alarm at about 7 p.m. University spokesperson Crystal Nosal said no injuries were reported as D.C. FEMS personnel responded to a “small cooking-related fire” alongside GW Police Department officers, Campus Living and Residential Education employees and other University officials.

“GWPD, Facilities, Emergency Management, Environmental Health & Safety and CLRE are all on scene assessing damage and establishing a timeline for reoccupation,” she said in an email.

Officials allowed most residents to reenter the building at about 11:30 p.m., according to an email residents received from the University. The email states officials placed dehumidifiers and fans throughout the building to dry areas where the fire was extinguished.

D.C. FEMS Vito Maggiolo was not immediately available for comment.

Clare Fritsch, a freshman who lives in JBKO, said she set off the fire alarm in her room while making a pizza in her oven, which started to fill with smoke. She said she was using the oven for the first time after facilities workers resolved a FixIt request last week, which she filed after the oven wouldn’t start.

Fritsch said she turned the oven off and tried using the fire extinguisher in the room, but she couldn’t get the extinguisher to work.

“I closed the oven and then some really nice girls on my floor tried to help me open my windows, and then the big fire alarm started going off, so we had to leave,” she said.

Jordan Freij, a freshman living on the fourth floor of JBKO, said he was doing homework when the fire alarm went off and the intercom sounded, telling residents to evacuate. He said he smelled smoke while exiting the building before firefighters arrived a few minutes later, entering the building with masks and hoses.

“In the stairwell, I started smelling smoke between the second and third floor,” he said. “Then we got out, and our community coordinator was telling us to move out of the doorway and get away.”


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About the Contributor
Zach Blackburn, Editor in Chief
Zach, a senior majoring in political communication, is the 2023-24 editor in chief of The Hatchet. He previously served as senior news editor and assistant news editor of the Metro beat. He hails from West Columbia, South Carolina.
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