WATERVILLE — A Colby College dormitory room was damaged by a fire early Tuesday morning after a student fell asleep with a candle still burning, officials said.

Firefighters extinguished the small fire in room 142 of Coburn Hall after receiving a call at 2:44 a.m. requesting aid, according to a statement from Capt. John Gromek, of the Waterville Fire Department.

The student living in the room, who is from Houston, Texas, told investigators that she had lit a candle. According to the school’s website, candles are prohibited from student residences.

The student said she had fallen asleep while it was still burning. Investigators believe that a piece of decorative fabric hanging from the wall above the candle had fallen and caught fire, which quickly spread to the student’s mattress.

The student was awakened by the fire, which was not large enough to activate the building’s sprinkler system, and alerted others in the dormitory. A security officer discharged two fire extinguishers, which partially extinguished the blaze, before fire officials arrived. Firefighters at the scene completely extinguished the blaze with a water hose.

The student was examined for smoke inhalation and cleared by rescue personnel. She will be placed a different room while the one damaged by the fire and smoke is cleaned.


The security guard was taken to a local hospital for inhaling smoke while attempting to extinguish the fire.

Fire officials did not release the names of the student or security officer. An official from the college said the school would not be commenting about the incident and whether the student would be facing any disciplinary action or fines related to the fire.

The Waterville Fire Department was assisted by Colby security personnel and investigator Jeremy Damren from the Office of State Fire Marshal.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239


Twitter: @EmilyHigg

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