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Steam leak causes late-night Mayfield evacuation

Mayfield was evacuated at 10:50 p.m. when the automatic fire alarm was activated due to extreme heat and pressure in the boiler room.

“Explodes is a strong word, but essentially that is what they didn’t want to happen,” said Sarah Erdman, Mayfield resident director.

The fire department arrived and went into the building with their gear on to stabilize the situation.

Tom Martin, Siloam Springs Fire Department battalion chief, said the firefighters inside were trying to let out pressure by cracking open all of the doors while they monitored the heat and pressure in the room.

Pressure continued to build up in the boiler room even after the steam was isolated. After opening a vent and resetting a panel on the boiler, the steam began to dissipate.

A man working on the boiler said in the worst-case scenario Mayfield would be without hot water for the night.

This is not the first time Mayfield residents have had to go without hot water this semester.

At 11:30 p.m. Mayfield was cleared for residents to re-enter.

“It’s a little cold to be standing outside,” said Martin.

Few girls braved the 38-degree weather to find out the alarm details. Most Mayfield residents retreated to the Cathedral, which had been opened to keep residents out of the cold, or went to one of the other open buildings on campus.

“I should have grabbed my laptop, though at the time a coat and shoes seemed more important,” said freshman Sarah White.

White had just been beginning to start her homework when the fire alarm went off.

“I feel like they should tell us what is going on because we have been out here a long time,” said sophomore Amy Stubbs while Mayfield was closed off.

Most residents still did not know the cause of the alarm as they re-entered the building.

“At least there is a real reason for the alarm, that makes me less angry,” said Stubbs. “I don’t count popcorn burning as a real reason.”