BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo Police today charged
a dormitory student with arson, reckless endangerment and other
crimes following Thursday’s fire in Spaulding Quad on
UB’s North Campus.
Arrested was Alec Seidenberg, 19, from Ardsley, after he
allegedly used a butane torch while using marijuana. Police believe
Seidenberg dropped the torch while smoking, which caused the fire.
He was also charged with possession of marijuana and criminal
mischief. The university strictly prohibits the use of such devices
or smoking in residence halls.
Seidenberg was taken to Erie County Medical Center Thursday
night and was expected to be released today. His girlfriend was
treated and released at ECMC Thursday night. The two were the only
injuries in the fire.
Police issued Seidenberg an appearance ticket to appear in
Amherst Town Court.
The alarm at Spaulding Quad Building 1 went off at 6:17 p.m.
Thursday, according to university police. When officers arrived,
they found a working fire on the fourth floor with alarms sounding
as student evacuated the building, police said.
Police searched the building, knocking on doors and instructing
students to leave.
“The fire alarm system coupled with the University Police
response permitted a quick and orderly evacuation of these
buildings,” said Police Chief Gerald W. Schoenle Jr.
The Getzville Fire Department responded to the alarm, and was
backed up by Ellicott Creek and North Bailey Fire
“The quick response and excellent work of these
departments are the reasons why there was minimal damage and the
fire was confined to one room,” Schoenle said.
The fire doors and alarm systems all operated properly,
preventing damage to the rest of the building, according to
Schoenle. Shortly after the building was evacuated, UB
Communications sent out text and email alerts advising students
that the fire was under control and asking everyone to stay away
until further notice.
Firefighters and police closed the building until 9:28 p.m. when
all fire alarms were reset. UB Communications sent an all-clear
message permitting students to return to their rooms with the
exception of the fourth floor of Spaulding Quad Building 1.
Nineteen students were temporarily displaced. Campus Living staff
found them temporary rooms at a local hotel. Campus staff is
working with the students individually to provide them with housing
that best meets their particular needs for the rest of the
Schoenle also wanted to recognize and thank the Getzville Fire
Chief Chris Kaplewicz who was the Incident Commander; New York
State Fire Investigators; Emergency Manager for the Town of Amherst
James Zymanek; and UB’s Emergency Manager James Reger, who
assisted the investigations and clean-up on the scene.