Alabama A&M students temporarily displaced after dorm fire

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NORMAL, Ala. – Students say their college campus was left in a frenzy Tuesday after a fire broke out in a dorm room late Monday night.

Students said they were without phone chargers, school work, and hygiene items all night and most of Tuesday.

Since WHNT News 19 began looking into the situation, the university has announced that they’ve purchased toiletries for those in need.

Many students said their clothes and electronics are most likely ruined.

After a wave of social media posts connected to Alabama A&M’s dorm fire last night, we began looking into student claims. Students we’re posting that they had been told to evacuate their rooms and many were not able to grab their belongings. There were also stories that students had less than ideal sleeping arrangements.

School officials say everyone got out safe. When the sprinkler system triggered, it flooded two floors of the building. Students were forced outside for a short time, with temperatures in the 30s.

WHNT News 19 spoke with one student who wishes to remain anonymous. “I wasn’t thinking it was serious because we have a lot of fire drills. But it was actually an electrical fire, so we were outside for hours,” she said. “They were trying to figure out what was going on.”

The Director of Housing claims every student was given a place to stay for the night, whether a vacant room, or a room with only one assigned student versus two.

Tuesday afternoon, students say they were still not able to gain access to their belongings. “No one has been able to get in to get anything like clothes, toothbrushes, nothing that belongs to us. If you didn’t take it out with you, we don’t have it.”

The student says classes have not been canceled for those affected. “I need my books, I need my school stuff, of course, deodorant, undergarments. We don’t have clothes, towels, nothing for hygiene,” she explained. “I don’t have my cards for money. If you don’t have Cash App people really don’t have money either.”

At 4:39 p.m. Alabama A&M sent out an email stating that students collecting money via GoFundMe needed to refund the money. It reads:

Dear Alabama A&M Students,

Please be advised that it is against the University’s policy to request personal donations in the name of Alabama A&M University. We have made every effort to provide items needed during the short-time relocation. It is requested that students immediately delete GoFundMe request(s) and Cash App request(s) – and return all donations. Please encourage donations  to the Hope for Tomorrow Fund which supports all students during an emergency.

Thank you,

Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development

As of 5 p.m., students and alumni had raised more than $500 for peers in need via GoFundMe.

School officials reached out to WHNT News 19 ensuring that they were working to restore the affected dorm to livable conditions. The Red Cross arrived on campus Tuesday afternoon, nearly 12 hours after the fire was reported.

The anonymous student in the story reached back out to WHNT stating that she had been told students would be able to retrieve their items by the end of the day.

She said they may be able to move back into their dorm rooms tomorrow.

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