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Smoke Alarms Get Credit for Saving UNC Students

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CHAPEL HILL — Students in a University of NorthCarolina dormitory were forced out into the cold early Tuesday morningwhen smoke alarms sounded. A fire started on the third floor ofJoyner Dormitory, sending about 169 women running for safety.

Investigators say the fire ignited in a pillow that was placed tooclose to a lamp. No injuries were reported.

The dorm is not equipped with a sprinkler system, but it was equippedwith smoke alarms that automatically reported the fire to campus police.The fire was under control within 13 minutes of the 1:20 a.m. alarm.

Four rooms were damaged by heat and smoke in Tuesday's fire. Residentsof those rooms had to spend the rest of the night in other quarters, butall others living in the dorm were allowed to return to their rooms.

The fire comesjust one week after the Chapel Hill Town Council passed a new ordinancerequiringinstallation of sprinklers in fraternity and sorority houses. Fivestudents were killed in a Mother's Day fire at the Phi GammaDelta fraternityhouse on Cameron Avenue.

Robert Bosworth, assistant fire chief of the Chapel Hill FireDepartment, says theschool is adding sprinkler systems as it renovates dormitories.

Joyner and 26 other UNC-CH residence halls are equipped with theautomatic smoke alarms. Old East and Old West, the two halls most recentlyrenovated, also have sprinklers. Other campus halls are scheduled to beretrofitted for sprinklers as funds become available in conjunction withother planned renovations.