(Update: Feb. 19 6:05 p.m.):
According to Lt. Richard Goodwin, a false fire alarm activation was the reason for the Saturday library evacuation. He said he does not have a cause for the activation.
Less than 24 hours after Cal State Long Beach University Police sent out a campus-wide email Friday to inform students of an evacuation drill that would take place on Wednesday, buildings were prematurely evacuated Saturday.
Bright white lights flashed as an alarm blared throughout the intercom system on upper campus at approximately 10:15 a.m. Saturday. A man’s voice came through the speakers in the University Library ordering everyone inside of the building to evacuate, following with a serious; “this is not a drill” disclaimer. Students reacted accordingly and exited Academic Services and University Library buildings.
“I was a bit surprised. I’m not normally here on a Saturday so I was a bit shocked to hear the alarms go off and thought ‘I hope everything’s okay,’” said Kim Word, associate director of the College of Education. “I thought ‘Oh, okay I better get out of here.’ I don’t think anyone would have known I was in my office because I’m not normally here on a Saturday.”
Word’s office is located inside of the Academic Services building, which was evacuated and secured by University Police.
Though the amount of students, staff and faculty inside the University Library was minimal compared to the typical number found inside on a school day, those that were remained in the courtyard area of the building. While some were concerned, others did not feel threatened and saw the evacuation more as an inconvenience.
“At the moment we just froze, like is this for real? …until we heard ‘this is not a drill please evacuate.’ We had just got there [the library] and were about to start working on our presentations.” said Monica Valverde, a senior majoring in sociology. “Then we had to evacuate so it felt more like, ugh they’re interrupting us and things that we need to do. I didn’t really care what was going on, I just wanted them hurry up so we [could] start this [presentation].”
Valverde and other students were able to return to the University Library as well as the Academic Services building after the Long Beach Fire Department arrived on scene and determined there was no threat present.
The reason for this evacuation and alarm is not known at this time. A BeachALERT Emergency Notification will be sent out during the campus wide evacuation drill on Wednesday. Students and staff will not be able to reenter buildings until after 10:45 when the drill is officially over.
This story will be updated