By Grant Mcdonald
Staff at the Ram in the Rye kept about 300 students from leaving an enclosed patio despite the possbility there was a fire in the Student Campus Centre (SCC) on Sept. 4.
During the evacuation, some students were standing only a few feet from the rapidly emptying building.
“They shouldn’t have been holding anyone back,” said Acting District Chief Kim Dobson of Fire Prevention.
If there was a real fire, the height of the building could have been dangerous due to falling debris, she said.
Building manager Mike Verticchio said the incident warranted a review of the SCC’s emergency response policy to determine “what works and what doesn’t.”
Craig Anderson, a manager at the Ram, said they prevented students from leaving the patio as a safety measure and not because they feared losing money.
“We had to make sure everyone was accounted for,” Anderson said.
Leatrice O’Neill, fire warden for the basement of the SCC, confirmed the alarm was not a drill.
When Toronto Fire Services arrived, they ordered everyone to evacuate the patio, both for their own safety and because they were keeping firefighters from getting into the building.
Once the fire alarms stopped, patrons were allowed to return to the bar, but only a handful returned to pay their tabs.
Staff at the Ram would not confirm how much money was lost, saying only it was a “substantial amount.”