Moving day at SUNY Oneonta


ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It's been five days since fire ripped through the third floor of Matteson Hall at SUNY Oneonta, but on Monday, those 56 students who lived on that third floor were able to get back in to get their things that weren't damaged, and move them into their new dorms on campus.

One of those students, Rebecca Zopf, a junior from Beacon, NY, had help moving from her dad and other family members who made the two and a half hour trip to help.

Bill Zopf says he is just thankful his daughter, nor anyone else, was hurt and is very glad to help Rebecca move to her new dorm, "It took three or four of us to get her up here, so it's going to take three or four of us to get her into the new place too. Plus, having the family around helps at this time."

The cause of the fire was deemed electrical.

Rebecca Zopf says it has been a tough few days to focus on studying, "It was tough, I grabbed my textbooks finally Friday, and so I read a little bit over break, but the professors have extended deadlines for us, and excused us from classes if needed,"

Fellow SUNY Oneonta junior Amanda Orcino of Sauquoit says she and others in the dorm thought the fire alarm was just a drill at first, "One of my roommates is a staff member in the building, and she just looked at me and said this isn't a drill. They tell the staff when there's going to be a drilll, so that scared us, so we put on sweatshirts and put on socks and we headed out the door."

The school is paying for Orcino and the other 121 students who live on the first and second floors of Matteson Hall to stay at the Holiday Inn in Oneonta until the first and second floors are deemed habitable again.

Orcino says it may be an inconvenience, but she too is just glad no one was hurt.

She adds, the fire has shed some light on things, "I guess just be fortunate for what you have. You look at the girls, that it was their room, and they lost everything, It's like the first day of school when it happened, so I feel terrible for those girls, but I'm one of the more fortunate ones."

Following a noon meeting on Monday, school officials say it looks like students will move back into the first and second floors of Matteson Hall by Friday.

SUNY Oneonta Student Development Vice President Steve Perry says it could actually be a day or two sooner, "We just want to do some things still in the building to do some testing, cleaning out some ductwork, testing that. Making sure the emergency systems work before we put people back in the building., but it's going to take at least a couple of days to do that."

Perry says the third floor of Matteson Hall will not be occupied again this semester.

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