Early on Wednesday there was a house fire in Grinnell at 1032 East St., a rental property with three apartments, one of which is home to Grinnell students Tasos Papachristoudis ’13 and Pavlo Nikolaidis ’14.
Papachristoudis was going to bed late Tuesday night when he noticed something strange in his bathroom.
“As I’m brushing my teeth, I see water dripping from the ceiling, and at the same time I could hear commotion from the apartment behind us,” he said.
Nikolaidis woke up soon after.
“I heard the neighbors talking about the fire and calling the department so I ran downstairs and I was like ‘Let’s go, I think this is an actual fire going on,’” Nikolaidis said.
The two grabbed Nikolaidis’s dog, Tango, and left their house as emergency personnel were arriving on the scene.
“We go outside and cross the street and we see what’s actually happening. It was an eyesight,” Papachristoudis said.
“Their window was basically burning, just flames coming out,” Nikolaidis said.
Fire personnel were at the house for nearly five hours, receiving the call at 1:42 a.m. and eventually leaving at 6:20 a.m..
“It was definitely a lot of work,” said Grinnell Fire Department Chief Dan Sicard. “The fire started on the second floor in the rear apartment in a bedroom and it quickly traveled through that second floor and up into the third floor and attic area.”
The cause of the fire is unknown, although it does not appear as if foul play was involved.
“We are investigating. The final interviews are tomorrow. It does not appear suspicious at this time,” Sicard said.
The RLC on call, Latoya Johnson, and dean on call, Andrea Conner, responded to the situation on Wednesday by going to the house and checking to make sure Papachristoudis and Nikolaidis were safe.
“They were actually very, very nice,” Papachristoudis said. “They really did want to protect us.”
The two students received offers to stay on campus from the school and Papachristoudis’s host family invited them to stay with them, although Nikolaidis’s dog complicated their living arrangements. The two decided to spend Wednesday morning with their friend Scott Klas ’13, who lives at 1021 High Street.
Midday on Wednesday, Conner met with the students and offered them resources such as a place to store their items, access to the Dining Hall, bed sheets and Campus Cash to