Library fire scare points to elevator

A fire alarm triggered in Coleman Library Thursday prompted firefighters to respond to what turned out to be an elevator mechanical problem.

Students and administrators filtered out of the library at approximately 5 p.m. after the alarm’s activation and waited for an all clear signal to re-enter from emergency personnel.

Tallahassee Police Officer Barb Miller monitored the situation in the library.

“Some of kids said they smelled something in the stairwell,” she said.

Miller said a thorough search was performed in the entire library.

“We couldn’t find anything in the new annex or anywhere throughout the rest of the library,” she said.

Dhyana Ziegler, assistant vice president of instructional technology, said, “We think it’s the elevator.”

She said when she entered the downstairs mechanical zone with firefighters she noticed oil spilling from a component of the elevator onto floor mats.

“We narrowed it down to a mechanical room problem that is sending a smell through the vents,” said Bernard Barrington, a firefighter on the scene. He suggested that the alarm was triggered by a scent permeating through the ventilation system.

“We think the scent was coming from the oil,” he said.

Campus officials disabled the library elevator until an elevator mechanic could be contacted.

They expected the problem to be rectified by closing time Thursday.

“What we have determined is that there is no safety issue,” said Ruth Swan, library director.

She said the incident reassured her that the alarm system is working properly.