By Laura Blenkinsop
Six students, five from Ryerson, are displaced after a fire destroyed the first floor of their Neill -Wycik apartment Saturday afternoon.
“There were several loud popping or exploding noises, the windows exploded,” said Alec Bain, a second-year journalism student who ran to the building’s security when he realized his apartment was filled with smoke.
Paul Tirimacco, the security guard who checked out the unit, couldn’t get past the front door because of the smoke. He told everyone to get out and ran back to the front desk to call the fire department. It wasn’t until he came back that he saw flames.
“I ran back there and repeated, ‘get everyone out, get everyone out,’ and right there, boom, flames blew out of the windows to the common area,” said Tirimacco.
No one was hurt in the fire but Deanna Dick almost didn’t leave because she didn’t take the alarm seriously.
“Sometimes they happen late at night and I just ignore them,” said the second-year early childhood education student. “But when I opened my door there was smoke to the ceiling and I could hardly see. I ran out.”
In her hurry, she left her bedroom door open. Hers is the only bedroom and clothes that werecovered in soot when she returned. Her parents are footing the cleaning bill.
“It’s been a hassle. It’s like the week before midterms and I have to go figure out school stuff now which is frustrating,” she said, adding that she is going to get a doctor’s note for the midterm she missed because of dealing with the fire.
“I’m supposed to be writing a midterm right now but there’s no way my thoughts are in the right place right now to do that,” she said.
Now all the students are displaced. Some are in other units in Neill-Wycik while others are staying in the Day’s Inn. It could take a few weeks to a few months before they can move in again because Neill-Wycik has to completely redo the first floor of the unit.
The cause of the fire is thought to be a cell-phone charger that shorted, setting fire to the couch beside it.
The total property damage estimate is $10,000 according to the fire report and about $2,000 worth of personal property was lost.
Neill-Wycik housing management was unavailable for comment.