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Meridian Hill Hall Updates
March 19, 2014


9 p.m.

Dear Howard University Community:

In an effort to keep you abreast of our response to the fire incident at Meridian Hill Residence Hall, I am providing you with another update on our progress.

  • The initial air quality assessments were conducted throughout the entire residence hall and the tests for contaminants (including carbon monoxide) were negative.
  • While the fire was contained to a single room, experts inspected all eight floors of the building and concluded that the infrastructure is safe. Additional tests and expedited remediation are currently underway.
  • All students on the fourth floor and other impacted residents have been relocated to other halls on the main campus. The University will provide dining services for these students for the remainder of the semester.
  • Staff members are conducting a door-to-door evaluation for follow-up outreach to students. Students can also receive an evaluation at the Response Center located on the first floor. All residents are required to be evaluated.
  • We are providing 24-hour medical and counseling services for students who experience any residual effects following the incident.

Finally, we would like to commend the quick response of our staff and students. We recognize this was a troubling incident and we will do all we can to ensure that we make students comfortable and restore normalcy to our living and learning community. We thank the Emergency Response Team for their ongoing efforts.


Wayne A.I. Frederick
Interim President

3:30 p.m.

Dear Howard University Community:

At approximately 12:50 a.m., a fire was reported on the fourth floor of Meridian Hill residence hall.  A robust investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.  With guidance from the Office of Residence Life staff, the building was safely evacuated. The fire was contained by the District of Columbia Fire Department (DCFD) at approximately 2:25 a.m. The Building was cleared for re-entry at 3 a.m. We thank students for their patience during this incident.

There are no major injuries as a result of the fire. A student and a public safety officer were treated for smoke inhalation complications and released. The incident was contained to a single room on the fourth floor. The building has been inspected and remains structurally sound. We will conduct additional assessments as we complete the investigation and make all necessary repairs.

Many University services are currently on-hand to address impacted students’ immediate needs. Dining services has delivered food to Meridian. Student Health and the Counseling Center teams are also on site to provide services. Approximately 93 students on the fourth floor as well as some residents from the third and fifth floors are being relocated to rooms in Cook, Carver, Slowe, the Bethune Annex and the Towers on main campus. As a precaution, the University has also secured temporary housing in a nearby hotel for students.

The Emergency Response Team will remain in constant communication with students in Meridian. The response efforts are being coordinated by Police Chief Brian Jordan, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Constance Ellison and Residence Life Dean Dr. Marc Lee. A cross-sectional team from the Offices of the President, Provost, and Chief Operating Officer as well as Compliance, Public Safety, Communications, Physical Facilities, Procurement and Special Student Services are working tirelessly to mitigate the impact of this incident and return to normalcy.

I will keep the community informed of our response efforts.  As always, thank you for your assistance and understanding.

Key Student Resources

Residence Life 202.806.6131
Meridian Hill 202.806.4114
Public Safety 202.806.1100
Student Affairs 202.806.2100
Student Health 202.806.7540
Counseling Center 202.806.6870
Special Student Services 202.238.2420


Wayne A.I. Frederick
Interim President








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