Just 30 minutes after lunch began on Tuesday, flashing lights and the sound of fire alarms drove students and staff members out of Moulton Union. 

“I had literally just walked in,” said Joseph Hilleary ’20. “I hadn’t even grabbed a plate yet when I saw a light flashing. The alarm didn’t go off at first, but then it started beeping. It was an underwhelming alarm, It didn’t worry me that much. I just walked out the side door and then walked over to Thorne.”

According to kitchen staff, a malfunction with kitchen equipment created enough heat and smoke to trigger the fire alarm at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Lauren Nguyen ’17 was participating in an Admissions panel on the first floor of Moulton when the alarm sounded. 

“Around five minutes into the actual panel, the fire alarm goes off and we look around like, ‘what are we supposed to do?’” she said. “All of us were moved to the museum steps ... It was very unexpected and smelled like burned toast. The panel still worked out and [the visitors] got to see the Quad, which was nice.”

During the evacuation, dining staff members either directed the flow of traffic or joined the exodus through Moulton’s doors.

“My job [during an evacuation] is to leave the building,” said Dining Services Production Assistant Jennifer Bisson. “My responsibility first and foremost is my personal safety. The supervisors are the ones who help [the remaining people] evacuate the building.”

Dining Services accommodated students whose lunch plans were affected by the evacuation and dealt with the cause of the fire alarm. By dinner time hungry patrons once again swarmed Moulton.