• Published Date:
  • Categories: Campus and Public Safety

At approximately 3:58 a.m., D.C. Fire officials were notified of an activated sprinkler system in Howard Plaza Towers West. Preliminary details from the active investigation reveal that a small fire was caused by an unauthorized cooking device turned on by residents while they were doing hair.

The incident caused damage to approximately 15 rooms on the 7th floor and below. No injuries were reported and building infrastructure is still being assessed. 

An all-clear order was given by D.C. Fire and residents returned to the building at 4:45 a.m. There is no evidence of broken or compromised water infrastructure in the building beyond the sprinkler activation during the course of the incident. 

We are committed to the safety of our students and are actively working with third-party residence hall providers and the division of student affairs to ensure impacted students are safely relocated. Residents are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Residence Life at hureslife@howard.edu for questions about temporary housing and retrieving belongings from affected rooms. 

We are grateful for the work of first responders in DPS and D.C. Fire and EMS crews who quickly surveyed these buildings to confirm the safe return of residents to spaces that are not impacted, and the residence life staff members helping displaced students to return to their rooms or to find alternative accommodations.

The safety and wellbeing of the Howard community are always at the forefront of the University’s planning and decision-making. All students are reminded of the University's Code of Student Conduct and Residential Hall agreement, which strictly prohibits smoking, unauthorized cooking appliances, and flammable materials in the facilities.