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Malfunctioning battery-operated skateboard caused fire in University of Cincinnati dorm room

$20,000 damage, no injuries reported
Posted at 12:21 AM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-28 06:40:40-04

WATCH UC student Meredith Barckert describe her escape from Calhoun Hall in the video player above.

CINCINNATI - Meredith Barckert said she was watching TV with her boyfriend in his fifth-floor dorm room at Calhoun Hall when the fire alarms went off.

"I looked down the hallway and smoke filled up the entire hall," Barckert, 18, told WCPO. "I said, 'Let's get out.' Everyone ran down the stairs. It was super crowded ... Everyone got out, so it wasn't too intense."

A malfunction in a battery-operated skateboard caused a fire in a fifth-floor room, forcing hundreds of students to be evacuated from the 12-story University of Cincinnati dorm Tuesday night, officials said.

A student in the room that caught fire and everyone else in the building escaped without injury, according to a release from District Fire Chief Louis Arnold.

"Fortunately the sprinkler system was keeping the fire in check and most of the damage was from the water," Arnold said.

Damage was estimated at $20,000, he said.

Barckert said the fire occurred a few doors away from her boyfriend's room. She said a bed caught fire, though officials did not confirm that.

Forty-four firefighters responded to the dorm after the call came in around 10:15 p.m., according to Arnold.

"I think out of every dorm this would be the scariest one to have a fire," Barckert said, commenting on the number of floors.

Two students were displaced, Arnold said. An announcement on UC's Public Safety Notifications page said "affected residents will be given alternative housing."

Barckert and other students waited outside while fire and UC crews cleaned up inside.

"They told us all to go inside the CCM (College-Conservatory of Music) auditorium and stay in there, but some people are finding friends to stay with," she said.