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SUNY Potsdam Alert: Van Housen Hall Fire Updates

February 10, 2024

February 11, 2024, 12:30 p.m. - 

Message to students:

Dear Students, 

Thank you once again for your patience and cooperation in the aftermath of last night's fire. We take immense pride in our students, and I want to express my gratitude to all the Van Housen Hall residents for their remarkable response. The swift and safe evacuation allowed emergency responders to promptly address the fire, and your understanding during this emergency is greatly appreciated. Fortunately, no injuries occurred, and all pets in the building were safely evacuated. 

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, with University Police collaborating with State Fire Investigators, as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement partners. 

The Counseling Center will be available in the Fireside Lounge at the Barrington Student Union today from 1 to 4 p.m., for students who would like to speak with a counselor to process the events of last night. 

The fire department has released the building back to the campus, and our Physical Plant staff are diligently working to clean the affected areas. 

For Second Floor Residents: 

You will be allowed to return to your rooms after 2 p.m. today and may remain there. If you picked up a temporary key, please return it to the Resideence Life Office in Draime Hall as soon as possible.

For Residents of Rooms 316 – 346: 

You can return to your rooms after 2 p.m. today, but you will not be able to stay/sleep in your rooms tonight and will need to continue residing in temporary housing. Thorough cleaning is required for this area. If you wish to move permanently to another room on campus, please contact Residence Life at, and they will assist you with a new room assignment for the rest of the semester. 

For Residents of Rooms 301-315: 

You can return to your rooms to gather your belongings, but you will need to be escorted by campus staff, as this area has been locked off from the rest of the building. Staff will be present on that section of the floor starting at 2 p.m. today. It is unlikely that you will be able to return to live in this space for the remainder of the spring semester, so please plan to pack up all your belongings. Residence Life will work with you on a new room assignment for the rest of the semester. 

Any Van Housen resident still in need of a temporary room assignment should contact Residence Life at 

Additional laundry facilities will be available in Knowles South, accessed from the south-side parking lot for former Van Housen residents, and are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this challenging time. 


Eric D. Duchscherer 
Dean of Students 
SUNY Potsdam 


9:11 p.m.


February 10, 2024

SUNY Potsdam Update:

SUNY Potsdam is working to rehouse all of the residents in Van Housen Hall, following tonight's fire. While the fire has been extinguished and no injuries have been reported, the investigation into the cause of the blaze remains ongoing.

The New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control is overseeing the investigation, while the Potsdam Fire Department is continuing to control the scene and manage emergency response, working with other responding agencies.

Any residents of Van Housen who have not yet reported to the Fireside Lounge in the Barrington Student Union should do so as soon as possible. All 62 students who were residing or staying in the building at the time of the fire are being provided accommodations on campus for the night, if needed. Those who wish to stay with friends or family elsewhere are welcome to do so, but are asked to provide their contact information and location to Residence Life, so that the campus can be in touch regarding next steps as we prepare for the building to be cleared for reentry.

We will continue to provide updates as the investigation continues, and will work with all impacted students to ensure their needs are met.

For emergency assistance, call 911 or contact University Police via the Rave Guardian mobile app or by calling (315) 267-2222.


7:45 p.m. 

February 10, 2024

SUNY Potsdam Alert:

The fire reported in Van Housen Hall earlier this evening has now been extinguished. No injuries have been reported.

All Van Housen residents should report to the Fireside Lounge in the Barrington Student Union at this time. Staff will be available to provide further assistance and information, as the damage is assessed and the College determines next steps.

All members of the campus community should continue to stay clear of the area while first responders continue to monitor the building and complete their investigation.

For emergency assistance, call 911 or contact University Police by the Rave Guardian mobile app or by calling (315) 267-2222. We will provide more information as it is received.


7 p.m. 


February 10, 2024

SUNY Potsdam Alert:

There has been a report of a fire on campus at Van Housen Hall. Emergency personnel have been notified and are responding to campus. If you are in or near Van Housen, please leave the building and vicinity calmly and quickly. Do not enter the area until fire personnel or college officials have given the all clear. 

If you are in immediate danger, require evacuation assistance or need to report an incident, please call University Police at (315) 267-2222. Watch your email or the website for updates, at

For Media Inquiries

Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, College Communications (315) 267-2114