Campus, News

False fire alarm allows students in quarantine at 1047 Commonwealth to breathe outside air

1047 Commonwealth Avenue, an off-campus apartment building that Boston University is currently using as quarantine housing for students who have been in close contact with positive COVID-19 cases. Students living in the building woke up to a fire alarm at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning despite no fire being detected. LAURYN ALLEN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Students living at 1047 Commonwealth Avenue — a building Boston University is currently using as quarantine housing — woke up to the sound of the fire alarm around 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

No fire was detected in the building, according to an email the director of Residence Life at 1019 Commonwealth Ave sent to residents of 1047.

Two fire trucks arrived on scene, but the fire department confirmed within 20 minutes the incident had been a false alarm. The University has made no comment about the cause for the alarm.

One student currently quarantining at 1047, who asked to remain anonymous, said the University designated New Balance Field as the meeting spot in case of a fire, but most students remained on the sidewalk outside the building.  

The student said they noticed many of the students emerging from quarantine housing were wearing masks but not social distancing. They called the incident a “facepalm moment” and said the opportunity to get fresh air might have clouded people’s better judgment for COVID-19 safety.

“It looked like a prison break because people were just happy to be in direct sunlight,” the student said. “It felt really nice and kind of like a quarantine clock reset.” 

The lack of social distancing, the student added, could have serious implications if a student present were to test positive. It could be a “super spreader,” they said.

Paige Benfer, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote in an email she found the experience to be “a great rush.”

“My heart was beating SO FAST because I hadn’t left the room for 2 weeks,” Benfer wrote, “so it was weird being out, and once I went through the door outside it literally felt so amazing.”

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