(POLINA MOVCHAN / THE STATESMAN)
Police and fire trucks respond to fire alarms set off at West Side Dining. (POLINA MOVCHAN / THE STATESMAN)

Since it first opened its doors to students this semester, West Side Dining has not exactly pleased students, mostly due to the significant changes from the old Kelly Dining facility. In fact, compared to Old Kelly, West Side has already had quite a few alarms going off. Literally.

According to an article by the Stony Brook Independent, on the night of Sept. 11, a cloud of smoke emitted from Bob’s BBQ due to the malfunction of the grill’s fume head. The building was immediately evacuated.

So far, there have been a couple more incidents similar to that night.

The cause is not the inefficiency of the chefs or the cooking appliances. According to John Gallo, the manager of fire safety on campus, the problems were caused by the exhaust fumes in the kitchen. The fresh air intake was sucking the exhaust fumes from the kitchen smoke, triggering the fire alarms in the process.

But students are wondering just how safe West Side is. Senior sociology major Sameer Merali said he was walking to West Side to eat a few weeks ago when he heard a fire alarm go off.

“I was a bit surprised because it was a dining hall and it went off there,” he said. “Like, in Kelly, that never happened as far as I remember.”

When asked if he feels that the building is safe, Merali answered yes and no.

“As a student buying food, I’d be safe because entrances are literally a few feet away and it’s easier to get out,” he said.

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But he feels that employees may have a harder time leaving because the building is structured so that the kitchen is stationed right in the middle of the facility.

Despite the inconvenience of these alarms, some students say they feel safer.

Junior biology major Christopher Esposito said that false alarms, in a way, are good because they “show the system is at least functioning and can pick up what it needs to.”

Gallo said that students no longer need to worry about these alarms. Engineers have already examined the problem and resolved it.

The Faculty Student Association and West Side Dining employees could not comment on this article.

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