*This article was written by Michael Innamorato and edited by Ebony Valentine.
BLOOMSBURG – A light switch in a Northumberland dorm lit up in the completely wrong way when it blew up and lit a student’s fingers on fire. Students are now worried about the same thing happening to them. The university is taking the proper precautions towards fixing any electrical issues, ensuring everyone’s safety.
On September 19, 2017, sophomore and graphic design major Alicia Williams, had been flipping her light switch on and off, it appeared to not be working properly. After a few unsuccessful attempts to make the light turn on, the switch began to spark and proceeded to explode.
This resulted in the index finger and middle finger on Alicia’s right hand to catch fire. She had to be taken to Geisinger Hospital to be treated for second degree burns. She has had to wear gauze over her fingers since then, and she has had trouble bending her index finger. The burns have almost completely healed, but the event has taken its toll.
Alicia is right-handed, and as an art major she uses her right hand for everything. This incident has left her physically unable to do so. She struggles to hold her pens and pencils as well as a paintbrush for her painting class. This event has proven to be detrimental to her mind as she is now uncomfortable in her own dorm room.
“I’m very uncomfortable with having my bed next to the light switch and I use my phone to turn the lights on and off. Usually if someone even puts their hand on the switch and makes any sort of joke about flickering, I’ll get pretty scared. Sometimes if someone turn the light on and off and I’m in the room I’ll duck because I think something is going to explode.” Alicia reflects on her experience.
Noah Young a freshman and computer science major says, “I just think the school should investigate a little more into the situation. I mean I wouldn’t want mine bursting into flames.”
James McCormack, the Operations Director for Residence Life, spoke about what occurred and how students are feeling. He says, “I don’t think that any student has anything to fundamentally be worried about.”
A maintenance team will be sampling the other switches around Northumberland Hall. McCormack says, that in his thirty years of being at Bloomsburg, both as a student and his staff member position, this is the first time an incident like this has occurred. He is not worried about it being a problem in the future. He plans to take some of the buildings down for a year or two to gut them and replace the electrical systems, plumbing, etc. He made sure to specify that a great deal of care and safety is involved and he doesn’t want a single student to be hurt while here at Bloomsburg University.
This incident was very unfortunate for Alicia Williams and her college experience for this semester. James McCormack and his maintenance team, are working hard to ensure the safety of every faulty member and student here on Bloomsburg Campus. They are taking the proper steps towards getting to the bottom of this issue.