Last weekend, Florence Boot Hall, the oldest hall of residence on campus, was the scene of a number of deliberate fires. Sources have confirmed that there were no injuries and police are believed to have taken away suspects who are reportedly, residents within the hall.
The first was a small paper fire in a remote corridor at 2am on Saturday night. Pete Sawyer, a 3rd year student in Florence Boot Hall told Impact that ‘the fire was intended to cause significant damage, blocking off the only fire escape and potentially forcing myself and neighbours to break windows to escape.’ The fire however, was too small to cause significant damage and was put down to usual student antics.
Two further fires were started on Sunday lunchtime, lit almost simultaneously, they targeted a small toilet and a larger top floor toilet and shower facility. Unfortunately, damage was extensive, with some describing the top-floor shower and toilet as a ‘blackened wreck.’ Nottingham Hospitality have now locked down the facilities following the completion of police forensics and hope to have them back in use within the week. 24 hour security was also stepped up around the hall.
Sunday evening bought further drama as another fire desecrated a small toilet on the first floor, filling a whole corridor with smoke amid scenes of panic. The fire was extinguished by two students, one of whom told Impact that ‘one fire extinguisher had been tampered with, rendering it useless for the task’. The fire appears to have been started within the toilet roll holder.
Students were said to be outraged when these later fires developed even with the extra security presence. Further controversy has also arisen around Nottingham Hospitality as sources have also told Impact that the largest fire was only spotted when a student went for a shower, and had to activate the fire alarm manually. If that wasn’t embarrassing enough for Nottingham Hospitality, persons close to hall staff have confirmed that the fire panel was misread, causing the fire service to attend to the wrong bathroom.
Evidently it seems that the response to these incidents has been nothing short of a shambles, many students within the hall remain upset with the situation and have had their studies severely affected. Questions will now have to be asked about security and planning for any future incidents of this nature, and there is no doubt that they will be resonating from the charred corridors of Florence Boot.