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February 25, 2008 | by  | in News |
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Drunken Sevens fan brings fireworks back to Stafford House

Firefighters were called to a fire at an inner-city university hostel during Sevens weekend, just two weeks before new residents were due to move in.

According to the Fire Service, crews were called to Stafford House on The Terrace by the building’s smoke detection system at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Sunday. Twelve trucks were present as students were evacuated from the thirteen-storey building.

The Fire Service says the fire originated near the lifts at the ground level and is being treated as suspicious.

Speculation has since surrounded the cause of the fire, with reports that it was caused by a 19-year-old resident who had returned to the hostel intoxicated after the Sevens rugby tournament. It was also reported that the accused student has consequently been expelled from the university and there have been suggestions that he has since attempted to flee to Australia, but his escape was foiled by police.

The fire and water damage was described as “minor,” but smoke that had entered the lift shaft had caused nuisance damage through the upper floors.

Two of the three lifts remained out of order, with the third moving but not fully operational as 2008 residents moved into the building last week.

“The students have taken it really well,” hostel manager Stewart Belcher says.

One disabled resident who was due to move into the hostel has since been relocated to VicCentral.

No timeframe was given on when all three lifts will be restored to full operation.

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