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Fire Forces Evacuations at Shaw University

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RALEIGH — The fire alarms sounded atShaw Universityearly Friday morning, as smoke began to fill the hallways of a women's dorm.

Officials say the fire started around 2 a.m. on the fifth floor, possibly from a couch that caught on fire.

Everyone was evacuated from the dorm and moved to the Student Union.

No one was seriously injured, but several students were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

Students say the situation could have been worse because false fire alarms have become a common occurrence.

"You hear the fire alarms so often, you don't take it seriously until you open up the door, and the smoke's there in your face. And sometimes, it's too late," says student Crystal Moore.

Raleigh fire official Tommie Styons understands the concern. "Students should never ignore fire alarms," she says. "Pranks can be an issue, but if a fire alarm goes off in your building, it's doing what it's supposed to do, telling you to evacuate the building, and you should evacuate promptly."

Fire officials say there was no structural damage to the building but some of the contents inside were damaged.

There is no word on when students will be allowed back in the dorm or whether the fire was set intentionally.