A UCSB freshman living in Figueroa House at Manzanita Village set off fire alarms when he discharged a fire extinguisher in the residential halls Wednesday evening.
Sean Downing, 19, a business economics major, said he took the fire extinguisher that was mounted on the wall across from his residence hall room and sprayed it in the hallway. Fire alarms in the hall went off when sensors detected the gas from the fire extinguisher.
“I didn’t think it would freaking turn on the alarms,” Downing said.
He said he tried to inform students that there was no fire, but their response was not what he expected.
“They laughed at me. Someone called me an ass,” Downing said. “I got a lot of [people saying to me,] ‘Why the hell did you do that?'”
UC Police Dept. received the call at about 5:54 p.m., and fire trucks and UCPD officers arrived at Manzanita Village within minutes of the call, UCPD Corporal Robert Romero said. He said students evacuated the building in an orderly fashion and no one was hurt. Romero said even though there wasn’t a fire, Downing’s actions were serious because of the panic it could have caused.
“It creates a panic because it creates an emergency situation,” he said.
Romero said Downing was cited for tampering with fire equipment, a misdemeanor that does not carry a fine. Because Downing was forthcoming and cooperated with authorities, he was not taken to Santa Barbara County Jail for the offense, Romero said.