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Local News

January 22, 2013

College makes adjustments after fire

SUNY Oneonta continued Monday to make housing adjustments for students and addressed other issues in the aftermath of a dormitory fire Wednesday, the first day of classes for the semester.

A blaze broke out in a bedroom on the third floor of Matteson Hall at 14 East Dormitory Drive at the State University College at Oneonta campus at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.

No one was hurt, officials said, and Oneonta firefighters with help from multiple departments had the fire under control within an hour. The accidental cause was attributed to a malfunction and improper use of an electrical power strip.

The dormitory’s 174 students and one residence director immediately were displaced. The hall’s third floor will be closed for repairs this term, and its 56 residents have been relocated to other dormitories, college officials said. All the third-floor residents completed removal of their belongings Monday.

Students on the first and second floors are expected to be able to move back into the hall by Friday, officials said.

Junior Katie Minahan, 21, said she is excited about moving back into Matteson when it is ready. Staying at the Holiday Inn has been “great,’’ she said, though a little cramped with four people in a room.

Professors have been “wonderful’’ and flexible about classes and assignments, Minahan, an early childhood major from Chatham, said Monday. None of her belongings was damaged because her first-floor room was on the far side away from the fire, she said.

At the sound of the fire alarm, Minahan said, she left without taking her computer or identification, which made the first days after the fire “a little difficult.’’ The college arranged for students to pick up belongings Friday and Monday, she said, and generally things are going well.

“Everyone is just staying really positive,’’ Minahan said. “No one was hurt — that was the main thing.’’

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