STAYer Away

Alex Geli
Editor in Chief

The roof, the roof, the roof was literally on fire this weekend.
A blaze scorched a hole into the roof of Stayer Hall, Millersville’s education building, Saturday evening. Blue Rock Fire Rescue was dispatched after a Millersville police officer noticed the fire.
“There was a hole in the roof, some insulation was damaged,” said Duane Hagelgans, Blue Rock fire commissioner.

Chinese lanterns set the roof of Stayer on fire.
Chinese lanterns set the roof of Stayer on fire.

Crews treated the fire from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. as a small portion of the rubber roof of Stayer Hall melted away. A second-floor classroom on the southeast corner of the building was also damaged. The room wasn’t being used as of the beginning of the week. No one was injured during the fire.
The fire started from an event held by Aaron’s Acres, a non-profit organization out “to provide all children and young adults with special needs opportunities to participate in the most innovative and unique social and recreational programs,” according to their website. Aaron’s Acres is not affiliated with the university in any capacity.
On Saturday, the group was participating in an activity that involved lighting and sending off Chinese lanterns on Millersville’s campus.
“Apparently one of them came down onto the roof,” Hagelgans said.
When an open flame meets the rubber roof, he explained, it doesn’t make for such a nice combination.
“One [problem] is that it’s an open fire,” Hagelgans said. “Any time there’s an open fire, that’s an issue. Secondly, the roof is rubber … it’s [also] fall so there were leaves on the roof.”
This all could’ve been avoided if the lanterns weren’t lit in the first place, Hagelgans noted.
Blue Ridge Fire Rescue was called to the scene.
Blue Rock Fire Rescue was called to the scene.

“I understand that people do them for various reasons. It’s just dangerous,” he said. From my standpoint, I can’t see them as a good thing. There’s too many variables … I’m sure all of those things aren’t explained when you buy one.”
One of those factors is wind, he said, which was also a factor in another call Blue Rock Fire Rescue received from Millersville University over the weekend.
On Sunday, there was a malfunction in a natural gas fireplace in South Villages, the new suite-style residence halls opened at the start of the fall semester.
Gas was spread throughout the building after the fireplace repeatedly failed to start.
“There was a lot of wind that day,” Hagelgans said. “Speculation is that the draft came into the chimney and pushed gas into the building.”
UGI responded to the detection of natural gas, deemed the air unsafe and evacuated all students. Residents were able to return on Monday night, according to media reports.