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December 20, 2014

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UNLV to begin allowing students to return to water-damaged dorm

Small fire activates sprinkler system, causes evacuation at Dayton North Complex

Some students at one UNLV dormitory will be allowed back into their rooms Tuesday afternoon after being evacuated early Monday morning as a result of a trashcan fire.

About 160 students at the Dayton North Complex were evacuated about midnight when a trashcan fire in a second-floor restroom tripped the smoke alarm and sprinkler system, causing water damage to the four-story building's first and second floors. Students were reassigned to different rooms by 2:30 a.m.

There were no injuries. The approximate cost of the water damage – mostly to carpeted floors and ceiling tiles – is still being determined.

The trashcan fire occurred when a student, who was smoking a hookah pipe outdoors, brought the pipe inside and cleaned out the hot coals into a restroom trash bin, which then caught fire.

UNLV doesn't permit smoking in residence halls, but allows for smoking at designated outdoors areas.

The Clark County Fire Department has preliminarily ruled the fire was accidental. UNLV spokesman Tony Allen said he was not sure if there would be any disciplinary action or fines levied against the student.

About 130 students were immediately evacuated to nearby Williams Hall, which had vacant rooms available. About 30 students stayed with friends or family.

Dayton Complex residents living on the dorm's third and fourth floors, about 80 students, will be able to return to their rooms by around 5 p.m. Tuesday, Allen said. The timeline for returning the remaining students is unknown at this time.

"Hopefully, we can get all the students back into their rooms as soon as possible," Allen said.

UNLV has more than 1,200 students living in four on-campus dorms.

The university's office of housing and residential life does not assume responsibility for any loss or damage to residents' property on campus. The university strongly recommends on its housing website that all residents obtain renter's insurance in case of water damage, fire and theft.

Parents and students may contact UNLV residential life at 702-895-3489 for updates.

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