Northern Star




Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student news organization since 1899


Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Stevenson Tower A experiences an electrical fire, hot water restored

Gabby Crabtree
A group of students stand across from the Stevenson South entrance. Stevenson Tower A residents were cleared to go inside at 2:03 p.m. (Gabby Crabtree | Northern Star)

Editor’s note: This piece was last updated at 12:07 p.m. 

DeKALB – At approximately 12:15 p.m. Friday, the Stevenson Tower A fire alarm sounded and students evacuated out of the residence hall.

According to an email sent to students by Housing and Residential Services, the fire started at the mechanical room in the basement. Damage was done to a motor control panel.

This panel controls the domestic hot water pumps for the entire complex. Currently the Electricians are working on this issue to return hot water service to the building,” said Housing and Residential Services in the email.

Housing and Residential Services will contact staff and students as there are updates.

Housing and Residential Services said, in an email Saturday morning, the  electricians worked for nine hours to restore hot water.

The Electricians were able to restore the hot water to the building late last night.” Housing and Residential Services said.

“The fire originated in the electrical box, then extended to a plastic work cart,” said a City of DeKalb press release. 

There were no students displaced from the damage. 

“Crews had to do extensive ventilation to remove the smoke from the building,” said the press release.

The fire took 10 minutes for the DeKalb Fire Departments to control with a fire extinguisher.

“A small fire in a mechanical room generated a significant quantity of smoke and prompted the evacuation of the Stevenson South residence hall,” said the university comment.

“In the interim students may seek out the Campus Recreation facility as an alternative location to take a shower,” said Housing and Residential Services in the email.

On the scene was one DeKalb fire chief, one battalion, one fire car, two fire engines and one fire truck.

Battalion Chief Jason Pavlak said the exact start of the fire is unknown.

“There is some electrical issue in the basement,” Pavlak said.

Two NIU police officers blocked off Lucinda Avenue in between Stadium Drive West and Stadium Drive East until 1:50 p.m. 

There were three DeKalb fire paramedics on the scene.  

Pavlak said no one was harmed in the fire.

“So far what has happened is a small fire in the basement has been extinguished by our initial crew,” Pavlak said  “We’ve just been working on smoke removal in the center section of Stevenson Tower.”

Silvia Salamanca, a first-year psychology major, said she could smell the smoke getting off the Huskie Line bus.

“I could smell burning and everything was a little smokey,” Salamanca said.

Stevenson A residents were cleared to go inside at 2:03 p.m.

Stevenson Retail Dining closed for the rest of Friday.

Adrian Rivera, a first-year biology student, said everything happened spontaneously.

“We heard the fire alarm and we all followed the code, you know, just go down the stairwells and stuff like that,” Rivera said. “Then we just saw some fire trucks just passing by so fast we knew exactly what was happening. We have kind of just been out here the whole entire time waiting.” 

More to Discover