Smoke in Cathey disrupts Fourth Meal

The smoke shut down the dining commons from 9 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday evening.

By Harini Jaganathan

Cathey Dining Hall was closed this evening from 9 to 9:30 p.m. due to a large accumulation of smoke that filled the dining hall, causing fire alarms to go off and sending fire trucks rushing toward Cathey. Associate Director for Dining Operations Christopher Toote cited a malfunction of the timer controlling the exhaust hood above the grill station as the cause of the excess smoke.

The buildup of smoke occurred because the grill station’s exhaust hood was not functioning correctly during late-night dining. Toote said that the exhaust hood operates on an automated timer based on the dining hall hours, and that the timer has not yet been adjusted to accommodate for Fourth Meal’s later hours.

Toote said that a temporary solution has been set in place now to correct for the timer’s previous computerized settings and that the hood will not malfunction again. “We will get a permanent solution ASAP,” he said.

A similar problem occurred in May 2011 on the first night of Fourth Meal’s pilot in Cathey, when a fire alarm went off because the timer had not yet been adjusted. This caused an evacuation that lasted about 10 minutes.

Due to the demolition of Pierce Dining Hall, Cathey started hosting Fourth Meal on Monday and will continue to do so for the remainder of the quarter.