An UnCommon Occurance for University Residents

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While College Station authorities comb through rubble, residents of an apartment are moving belongings out of their burned building. And even though the cause of the University Commons fire is still under investigation, students who lived there are breathing a sigh of relief.

When parties break up early, it's generally a bad thing.

"I was hosting a party," said Tess Kroeger, who lives as University Commons, "so as a hostess, I was quite upset when someone knocked on the door and said you've got to get out now."

Of course, it's not always a bad thing.

The aforementioned bash was on the second floor of the University Commons apartment building. There won't be any on the third floor for some time.

"I just hoped that everyone made it out," said Kathleen Ott, who lived across the hall from where the fire is suspected to have started. "Then, I was just worried if it was going to spread, and how far it was going to go."

It went -- at least heavily -- through a pair of third floor rooms. While authorities only allowed residents to that level Thursday, people who have surveyed the damage say the ceiling caved in on one room, now rain-drenched after Thursday's brief storm. That unit's living room was also damaged, and the next apartment down had the kitchen and ceiling burned.

"We were across the hallway from them, so we only suffered minor smoke damage to our ceiling," said April Lilly, who lives with Ott.

"Looking at the apartment, it's unbelievable," said Jennifer Bernhardt, a visitor Wednesday night who returned to the scene Thursday to help friends clean up. "Last night, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get to sleep."

Sleep is usually hard to come by when finals arrive for students. Friday marks the first day at A&M, and students are altering their study plans, some even calling professors to reschedule, like Kroeger's roommate.

"She talked to her professor, and her professor absolutely could not be more cooperative," Kroeger said. "He said don't worry about it at all."

University Commons would only comment that they are moving all residents affected by the fire into new apartments. There are 12 units in that building, and six or seven people lived on the top floor where the fire was heaviest.

Residents who fled the building say the alarm did not go off until well after the fire was burning. Everyone got out safely thanks to people knocking on doors on their way out.