On Dec. 4, an explosion rocked the third floor of Langford Hall activating the fire suppression system in one wing of the building. The explosion, caused by negligent use of flammable aerosols, sent one student to the hospital and severely damaged three rooms.
While most of the building was evacuated, the majority of residents were able to return to their rooms within a couple hours of the blast. The room at the epicenter and the rooms on either side, however, were heavily damaged – primarily by buckled walls – and those students were moved to alternative housing for the remainder of the semester.
The student taken to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital was released a week later, having sustaining second degree burns to more than half of his body.
Over the break, all necessary repairs were made to the affected rooms in Langford at a cost of $20,000 according to Carol Schmidt, assistant news director for MSU Communications. The university submitted claims for university property damage as well as that of affected students to the State of Montana’s tort claims insurance. The claims were covered by the state’s policy and paid in full. According to Schmidt, the insurance company will conduct its own investigation of liability and decide whether it will seek reimbursement for the payout “from any third party who may have caused the damage.” As for what happens next, “It is now in the hands of the insurance company,” said Schmidt.