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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Keys fire leaves residents without laundry room, Wi-Fi

Aamir Rahim hadn’t done laundry in two and a half weeks.

About 4:30 p.m. Saturday, the UF electrical engineering sophomore finally put his clothes in the washing machine at UF Keys Residential Complex, but just before he left, Rahim saw smoke coming out from the dryer vents.

He went to the area desk and told a worker that the building was on fire.

"I was concerned because I’m pretty sure no part of that building should be on fire," Rahim, 19, said.

While the cause of the fire is still unknown, the 10-foot flames destroyed the laundry room and left many residents without Wi-Fi, a laundry room and functioning fire alarms.

Rahim said staff members are posted outside each building because the fire alarms are not working.

"So we have a human fire alarm," Rahim said, referring to the resident assistants and staff members stationed outside each of the 10 Keys buildings.

Residents were all safely evacuated, and the fire did not spread to any other part of the complex, said University Police spokesman Maj. Brad Barber.

"It was isolated to the laundry room," Barber said.

It is still unclear what caused the fire or how much damages will cost, he said.

"We all saw the smoke covering our windows," said Alexis Vreeland, 20, a Keys resident, who was evacuated to Flavet Field.

The UF political science and geography junior said she realized there was no Internet access when she returned to her dorm at about 8 p.m.

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She was told by her RA she could go to Springs Residential Complex for Wi-Fi if she needed to do work.

She said she doesn’t know where her packages will be delivered to or when the Wi-Fi will return.

Rahim will probably do his laundry next weekend at a nearby residence hall.

He said he hopes the laundry room doesn’t catch on fire, especially because he still doesn’t know the state of his last load of laundry.

"I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed that it’ll be OK," he said.

Contact Ariana Figueroa at afigueroa@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @ArianaLFigueroa

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