Response to Cobb Residence Hall Fire

Dear Carolina Community:

As I’m sure you are aware, late yesterday afternoon there was a fire in the attic of one section of Cobb Residence Hall. The Chapel Hill Fire Department responded immediately to the alarm and our Department of Public Safety blocked off the area surrounding the residence hall. Thanks to the efforts of three fire departments led by Chief Dan Jones and our own health and safety officials, within about an hour flames were no longer visible, and the fire was extinguished later in the evening.

Fire and smoke damage were limited and, thankfully, no injuries were reported. Student Affairs worked very quickly to provide all 380 students who live in Cobb with alternate accommodations for the night. We are hopeful that most of the students will be able to return to their rooms later today, and we will work with all the affected students to minimize any disruption.

Like all our residence halls, Cobb is equipped with smoke detectors and fire alarms. Our students responded immediately to what they were told to do by safety officials and the Alert Carolina messages they received. Because the safety of our students, faculty and staff is paramount, I was extremely gratified that the many emergency responders worked in concert to protect our campus community.

I want to thank everyone involved for their tremendous work. Vice Chancellor Winston Crisp and Chief Jeff McCracken directed the campus response, including the efforts of people in the Department of Housing and Residential Education, the Dean of Students Office, our New Student and Carolina Parent Programs Office, the Department of Environment, Health and Safety, Facilities Services and Campus Health Services. Off campus, Orange County Emergency Medical Services and the Chapel Hill Fire Department were invaluable in last night’s response. I also want to ask our faculty to work with the affected students however they can.

In the few months I have been at Carolina, I have seen countless examples of this University’s commitment to the people in our campus community. Again and again, I am impressed by your professionalism and love for Carolina – and this is one more instance in which you have demonstrated what makes this such a wonderful university.

Thank you,

Carol L. Folt
Chancellor