Concerned UA students respond to dorm fires - Tucson News Now

Concerned UA students respond to dorm fires

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Of the four fires set at Pueblo De La Cienega Residence Hall since October 20th, two have been classified as arson, two others remain under investigation.

At this point, University of Arizona Police say there's no reason to believe the fires are related. Though students we spoke to certainly have their own opinions.

"I go to sleep at night not knowing if I'm going to wake up to the building being on fire," says freshman Austin Houska.  "It's just really stressful."

"To me I think it's more about gaining attention, rather than complete arson," freshman Cynthia Hernandez says.  "If they really wanted to burn the place down, they'd do it."

Either way, freshman Clay Sensibaugh is sick of it.  "It's becoming too routine," he says.  "I don't want in my life.  I just wanna sleep through the night, have a safe place to live and not have to worry about anything."

Unfortunately, worry free nights are relatively scarce these days at Cienega. 

Students say the fires are happening in common areas like the TV lounge and study hall.

For freshman Ari Aeurbach, that included a fully-engulfed couch right next to his dorm room.

"The fire alarm went off, I woke up and basically right night to our room there was just smoke everywhere," Aeurbach says.

Good news is, nobody's been hurt in any of the cases.

Though students have had to evacuate now four different times.

No easy chore at 3 or 4 in the morning.

"Ah's just been weird, like sucks having to wake up at 3:30, 4 o'clock," says freshman Sammy Kalejaiye.  "Who wants to stay outside for an hour and a half?"

Sophomore Jason Ducoffe agrees.

"I know I've had a midterm the next morning after I've been locked out until five, so it's definitely disruptive and it's a hard thing to decide why it's happening," Decoffe says.  "But it's definitely not an accident anymore."

Which is why students inside Cienega have come up with their own make-shift fire department.

They call themselves Cienega's volunteer first responders.

And while it may seem like they're poking fun.

It's really anything but that.

"Our first concern was our handicapped friend," says junior Christos Savvinidis, wearing one of the blue T-shirts with a "Cienega Fire Department" logo on it.

He's referring to a young lady on the third floor who nobody's going to leave behind.

"So we make sure we can get her out, because now these fires are real," Savvinidis says.  "It's not like it's just a drill, we're actually smelling smoke. So for us to run by somebody at the top of the stairs is just inhumane."

University of Arizona Police encourage anyone with information about the Cienega fires to call 911 or 88-CRIME, the Pima County Attorney's anonymous tip line. 

You can also contact UA Police at 520-626-0066.

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