“I’m not leaving this room” I say, as I recall the fire alarm that went off less than 3 hours previous. Turns out that one was an accident, and who knows why still.
“No it’s real! There’s an actual fire! I saw the smoke!” My roommate frantically exclaims.
I go over and wake up my suite mates by telling them it’s real this time, then I rush back over into my room, grab my laptop, push all of the school supplies out of my backpack, rip my phone charger out of the wall, put on some leggings, grab my jacket and head towards the door. I hear people screaming in the hallway I don’t know what they are saying. My roommate is saying she can’t find her keys & I tell her to leave them because it doesn’t matter at this point. I open the door and all I see is black smoke, I crouch over and bolt down the hallway. I don’t know where Marissa is. Once I made it outside I was watching the stairs and I heard her say my name from a few feet away. I go over to her and our friends and we start walking to our designated area of “safety” during a fire.
Not too long, but also what felt like an eternity later, we see fire trucks and we know it’s actually real. Everyone is shaking, some from being cold, others shaken up from what is happening at the moment. I text my mom and tell her there was a real fire this time, she doesn’t reply and I thank god every day for that. I know she wouldn’t have slept at all that night, I’m so glad she didn’t wake up from the updates I was sending her. I was perfectly fine, she didn’t need to be awake for it, but I still wanted to update her on what was happening.
After a little while, they tell us we can go to another building to get warm. We stay there until 3 or 4 in the morning and then they tell us we need to move to yet another building lounge, where we sit for another half an hour to 45 minutes, and get transferred back to our original building where they give us a room for what we can only hope is just the night. We had to sign a bunch of paperwork saying we were responsible for any damages and all that jazz, but they told us it would probably only be for one night and we would be able to go back the next day.
They kept my suite mates and I in the same room thankfully, we got keys and had to sign some papers saying we live there for now. They give us an itchy blanket and a flat pillow like in Orange is The New Black, and they send us into our rooms. I chose the bed away from the window, put my borrowed pillow and blanket on the bed and went into the living space. At this point it was 6 in the morning, we all fall asleep for a short while, though none of us could sleep very much, as we were worried about our belongings left in the room.
The other floors were allowed in the building again, so we felt very displaced, and quite homeless. We spend the day in silence trying to make ourselves laugh in any way possible. Eventually a couple police officers came and knocked on the door to ask us questions. My mom specifically remembers this because I was on FaceTime with her and out of nowhere said “I have to go, The police are here” and then hung up without letting her reply. After that was over with towards the end of the day we finally get an email saying we have to stay there permanently, and we are allowed back on Thursday to gather our items from our old room. We go to sleep that night worried about everything, wondering why it happened to us, and what even happened to start a fire. We have no information on if our belongings are damaged and what all we have to buy to replace.
Thursday comes around, thankfully my parents have jobs that allowed them to come help me move from the old dorm into the new dorm. I walk into the building that smells only of smoke, I am fully expecting everything to be ruined in my room since the fire was 2 doors away from me in the study room. I walk down the hallway on my floor and the floor was covered by plastic wrap, the walls were black and there were emergency lights hanging all throughout the hallway. The smell of smoke was very strong. When I walked into my room it was a lot better than I expected at first. My roommate was telling me how nothing of hers was damaged and I had hopes that none of mine was either. As I was packing up all of my room, I noticed a lot of things were missing, and that was when I was informed that anything with water damage was put in plastic bags in the bathroom. That was when I found all of the items I hadn’t been able to find. A few pairs of shoes, a shoe rack, a couple blankets, some of my clothes, my duffle bag, a storage cart, and a few other random things I had that I couldn’t find. About half of the things that were in the bathroom had to be thrown away.
Moving everything into the new dorm was an experience because I had no idea where to put anything anymore since I specifically got some of the items for the dorm I was in and the one I was being moved to was a lot different. I only had a couple months to live in that dorm so I honestly found things as I was moving out at the end of April that I realized I never unpacked. I couldn’t find anything I was ever looking for throughout those couple months so it was a struggle.
I have always had a fear my entire life of being in a fire or having my house have a fire, so going away to college and having a flood in the fall, and a fire in the winter was definitely unexpected and scary. I made it through it though and I can say now that I officially have been displaced from a fire. I like to say I’m a burn victim although it may be a little stretch from the truth, I was in a fire nonetheless.