Cal Poly students head for safety after dorm evacuations: 'It wa - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Cal Poly students head for safety after dorm evacuations: 'It was chaotic'

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Courtesy: Lauren Ipsen Courtesy: Lauren Ipsen

More than a thousand people headed for safety on the Cal Poly campus Tuesday as a brush fire burned dangerously close to student dorms.

The Poly Fire started around 3:20 p.m. It burned 97 acres as of Tuesday night. CAL FIRE says the fire is about 20-percent contained.

Air tankers will take off Wednesday morning to further douse the fire. Meanwhile, students have returned to their dorm rooms.

Fire alarms sounded inside Sierra Madre and Yosemite residence halls shortly after the fire began Tuesday afternoon, surprising many living in the dorms.

"The fire was 30 feet away," said Kennedy Skinner Plunkett, a Cal Poly freshman.

Some thought it was a drill until they saw the flames.

"Once we saw the brush burning, we ran back in and got our laptops and booked it out," said Jonathan Uhler, a freshman at Cal Poly.

Many students grabbed their homework, technology, and, in some cases, pets.

"As soon as we heard the fire alarms, I immediately grabbed my fish and then I was like, 'Well, I should probably grab my homework,'" Plunkett said.

Meanwhile, staff's priority was getting students out safely.

"We know that all the students were evacuated. Our student affairs housing personnel checked every room," said Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong.

"It was definitely chaotic because everyone was freaking out about their things," Plunkett said.

The students eventually shuffled out, but not before they took photographic evidence.

"I took some Snapchats," Uhler said. Some say that added to the chaos.

"They were very curious and wanted to see, wanted to take pictures, so it wasn't really smooth," President Armstrong said. "But it's just like any other group of people."

Students were given the "all clear" to return to the evacuated dorms around 8 p.m.

The San Luis Obispo City Fire Department says the main body of the fire is under control but they'll be working on hot spots overnight to ensure the fire doesn't spark up again.

Related story:
Brush fire burns 97 acres at Cal Poly

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