Fire burns on Westerlin J-Wing’s roof

Natalie McMillan

A fire broke out on the roof of Westerlin Resident Hall, above the Jenny Linn (J) Wing, around 2:00pm on Monday, May 10, 2021.

The smoke could be seen from the Gerber Center as an AugieAlert went out, informing the campus of the fire. More alerts followed asking the campus to avoid the Westerlin area.

The Rock Island Fire Department began dousing the fire in water around 2:17pm, as the Rock Island Police, Public Safety, and Augustana Staff kept onlookers at a safe distance.

Students, who were in Westerlin when the alarm went off, crowded around the parking lot watching the scene unfold before them.

First-years Amanda Quinn and Kaitlyn Forehand were a part of the students waiting in the parking lot. These roommates sat on the roof of their car, watching the scene. They expressed concern, explaining that their dorm room was in J-wing.

First-year Maja Johnson, who lives in Westerlin, and Sophomore Anna Misener watched from the tree area past Carriage House in a hammock. Both Johnson and Misener were not on the scene at the time the fire began.

“I was getting all my information through texts and phone calls, and it was vague at first. I believe the first message I got was ‘what’s going on outside, I see smoke,’” Johnson said.

Johnson heard from some of the chats she’s in that it was a solar panel that caught fire.

Students who were in the Westerlin parking lot began being moved to the PepsiCo Center’s soccer fields as they waited to see what would happen.

AugieAlerts sent out a message at 2:58 stating there were no injuries reported, the fire was extinguished, and that there were no apparent structural damages.