It's after 3 AM and my roommate's friend nearly burned down the dormitory building.

Here's how it started, the kid across from me stole a big roll of toilet paper from the bathroom. I'm talking about a extra large month-long roll that public restrooms have. He decides to have fun, throw some around and roll it down the hallway. After throwing it around a lot, he leaves and I go to my room.

I'm watching TV and suddenly I hear the fire bell sounding. It's not like a school's "Ding, ding ding!" Instead, its a continuous ring, as if a bank was being robbed. I go into hall, and I immediately smell smoke and hear some yelling. I look to my left, and there the guy is, trying to stomp on burning toilet paper. It's now blossomed into a fire that is now as big as if I lay down on the ground, and the carpet underneath is now spreading the blaze.

He yelled "Get a fire extinguisher!" but the alarm is going off, and I don't remember where one is. I sprint to the end of the hall, but this is not one of those buildings with a hose in the stairwell. There is no extinguisher to be found, and the alarm is already blaring, so I can't pull the alarm box. I hear someone yell, "It's out!" and I returned to see the ground smoking. By this time the whole floor was filled with smoke and the smell of burning paper.

"What an idiot" I said over the din of the bells. I hurried into my room, grabbed my jacket, sneakers, and laptop and headed outside. It was snowing rather heavily in Schenectady, NY, and joined the two dozen other kids outside. Thank God classes ended last week or else the building would be full. I ran over to the phone and called security to make sure they knew about this. Five minutes later, even though the building was across the street from the Campus Safety office, they come running up. I see through the windows them going through every room looking for people as they emptied the building. Surprisingly enough, a few more sleepy people stumble out into the snow after security must have found them. I'm waiting for the fire department to come, but they don't. I guess security told them nothing was left to put out.

40 minutes later, after waiting in the snow, security lets us back inside. The kid got burned trying to put out the fire, so he got taken up the block to the ER to get checked out. Meanwhile, I told the RA in charge of the floor that I knew who did it.

Why? The kid started a fire, and damaged the floor. We all have to share in the cost of damage to the building unless the school knows who did it. And lastly, it was bothering my conscience. A few minutes after that, a security guy calls me and asks me to repeat what I saw to him. This time I told him everything, including the name of the kid and the roommate helping him. By 3 AM we were left alone, with the smell of smoke.

The next morning, the kid comes into my room and curses me out for ratting on him. He had already told security what had happened, and saw me talking to the security guy, and figured I told on him. He got brought into the Dean's office and got interrogated for a while. They accused him of trying to burn another student's room, since he had singed the door and carpet of the next room over. He got in serious trouble because the school told the police about what happened, and he was suddenly a suspect for attempted arson. His disciplinary action by the school is simple: Either take the next term off (because this one ended last week), or face a disciplinary hearing where he is at risk for suspension or expulsion. He hates me, since he thinks I made it worse for him.

The roommate who I also mentioned also got dragged down to the dean. He told me that since I brought him up, he was "suspect number 2" on the police report. He started screaming at me because I broke his trust, how I'm a stupid phony, and basically threatened me. Nothing is going to happen to him, but it took him a long time to convince the Dean that it wasn't deliberate.

The long story short, he's got to pay for the damages, and I'm in my smoke-filled room. He's leaving for the break, but he's not coming back until march, "with my help," as he put it.

I have a bad feeling that when school resumes, I'm going to have an actual enemy. On the other hand, I can't believe I didn't do #18 on my list of Things to do in my lifetime...

I took a picture of the mess, see it at