Fire Alarms Startle Residents After Laundry Replacements 

New laundry machines installed in Lee Hall last week. GRACE CARDINAL/THE QUADRANGLE

By Karen Flores and Grace Cardinal, Asst. Features Editor & Staff Writer 

New laundry machines have set off fire alarms in Manhattan College’s Lee Hall this semester, students say. Confusion ran high as to what was happening with the new machines and when the issues would be resolved. 

“It’s just disruptive in general when I’m trying to relax from a long day. I thought it was a practice safety measure, but now that I realize it’s from the brand new dryers, it’s kind of agitating,” said freshman Michael Riccardo.

Manhattan College’s contract with their previous provider, LG Equipment, expired earlier this year, which sparked the seemingly abrupt change of equipment. The college was drawn to Automatic Laundry as a new provider due to its advanced technology students can benefit from.

 “We looked at three different companies and decided to go with Automatic [Laundry]. We liked what they offered, especially on the technology side. It was a little bit less about the machines, and more about the technology piece for some of the things we really wanted,” said AJ Goodman, associate dean of students and director of Residence Life.

Patrick Caveny, vice president of sales for Automatic Laundry, stated that the fire alarms have been triggered by the heat sensors inside of the Lee Hall laundry rooms, occurring when the door to the room was shut while the dryer was still running. 

“In Lee Hall there’s a heat sensor in the laundry room, and there’s a heat sensor right outside the laundry room,” said Caveny. “The dryers aren’t overheating, it’s just that if that door is shut and there’s no stoppers on the door, that room gets to a certain temperature because both dryers are running and maybe the people that are running them accidentally close the door so it heats up the room.”  

Students can be rest assured that while these machines do run hotter than those previous, they are safe to use and have been checked by the installer, Residence Life told The Quadrangle.

“The current laundry machines do run a lot hotter than the old ones. There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re fully functional,” Goodman said. “They’re operating fine. They were checked by the tech who did the install, and he was back the next day to work in Horan, but he stopped in Lee once he heard about the fire alarm situation to see what was going on.” 

Caveny told The Quadrangle that he had given the RA’s on campus a 10 minute presentation in regard to the usage of the machines.

“It was a 10 minute conversation where I gave a little presentation where we went through who Automatic Laundry is, this is the type of equipment that was installed, this is the Laundry Connect monitoring system, and this is what it does and how we can solve some things,” Caveny said. 

Students were frustrated about the lack of streamlined information and hope to hear more clear instructions from those in charge in case of further problems, student residents told The Quadrangle. 

“[We need] some sort of awareness from RA’s or people who know how to use [the machines] correctly, and the specific things we have to do. People are telling me to keep the door open, but I had to learn that through word of mouth, and I’m sure there’s people who are less connected that don’t know what they’re supposed to do,” Riccardo said.

Lauren Rosenberg, a freshman exercise science major, said that the disruptions caused by the fire alarms have had an impact on her schedule and routine. 

“I guess because it’s so frequent now, it’s just becoming annoying and there’s no actual issue, but you are still forced to evacuate and stand out there, and we could be doing other things, sleeping or homework… it’s interrupted my sleep schedule,” said Rosenberg.

Despite the issues thus far, Caveny said the machines do have an upshot: technology that allows most issues to be fixed remotely.

“We’ve added technology, our Laundry Connect monitoring and remote service technology, which allows us to actually repair many of the error codes that come up on to Speed Queen machines remotely,”  Caveny said.  

  Caveny also mentioned that these new machines come with a notification system which alerts students when their clothes are ready instantaneously.

“If you are getting the alerts from then it’s immediate. It’s in real time with a machine that refreshes every 30 seconds, so it might be off by 30 seconds, but essentially, it is real time. So if you use the system of Laundry Connect to alert you when your cycle is done, it’s going to be in real time and it’s incredibly reliable. We don’t have any complaints that it’s not reliable,” he said. 

Caveny said that Automatic Laundry is happy to be serving Manhattan College and hopes that the machines can add more ease to student life on campus.   

“Our goal is to be your best and most quiet vendor on campus. So no fire alarms, right? These machines are going to work, we’re going to keep them running for you. They were looking for that campus laundry experience to really be elevated and be what Manhattan College wants to have for their students and families.” Caveny said.