Chamberlain Hall residents awoke to an unexpected alarm at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning: the paralyzing sound of a fire alarm. When the motor starter in the elevator machine room overheated and began to produce smoke, the building?s smoke detectors were activated and its fire alarms were set off.

Security Officer David DeSchuiteneer reported that the alarm came into the communications center at 3:37 a.m. Officers arrived at Chamberlain at 3:40 a.m. and the Brunswick Fire Department arrived at 3:44 a.m.

?Upon arrival, officers could smell smoke when they entered the basement. The Fire Department arrived to enter the elevator mechanical room, which was filled with smoke,? DeSchuiteneer said.

Bleary-eyed students evacuated the building and waited in the snow for 30 minutes before being let into Thorne Hall by Security.

?The students cooperated with the officers [throughout the ordeal]. Many chose to seek refuge with friends in Coles Tower,? DeSchuiteneer noted. ?There was one student that had been reported to the officers as sleeping soundly by his roommates. As soon as this information was received an officer made contact with the student and escorted the student to Thorne.?

In an e-mail forwarded to the residents of Chamberlain Hall, Director of Facilities Operations and Maintenance Ted Stam explained what had occurred.

?The smoke condition in the elevator machine room was caused by a faulty electric contactor in the motor starter for the hydraulic unit. This caused the motor to run continually while the elevator was not moving. The continually circulating oil became hot enough to smoke, causing a fire alarm condition,? Stam wrote.

While Security encountered no difficulties with Chamberlain residents complying with their direction, students had various opinions about how the situation was handled.

?I was very annoyed,? said Senior Janelle Charles. ?There should be protocol in place in case we have to sleep elsewhere that there should be cots available.?

?I was really bitter about being out of my room for two hours beginning at 3:30 in the morning,? said sophomore Alex Hirshberg, ?but it wasn?t [Security?s] fault.?

According to senior Amy Ahearn, ?Security was good about telling us about what was going on.?

While many students attempted to fall back asleep throughout Thorne, Ahearn was among the few who decided to not to.

?[My roommates and I] watched ?Atonement? in the BCN room,? she said.

Brunswick Fire Department Deputy Chief Jeffrey Emerson said the firefighters left by 5:24 a.m. By 5:35 a.m., after the smoke had ventilated properly, Security allowed students to re-enter the building.

?The reason [the Fire Department] was there for so long because it continued to produce smoke and there was no safe way to cool [the oil] down,? Emerson stated. ?It was a ventilation problem.?

According to Stam, ?Facilities took control after the Fire Department left the scene. The problem was referred to the Otis Elevator Company. Repairs were completed by 2:00 p.m. the same day.?