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UPDATE: Palo Verde East reopens after reported fire displaced students over weekend

Student residents said there were inconsistent fire alarms and a power outage

230824 Palo Verde East Fire.jpeg

A Tempe firefighter stands on the north side of Palo Verde East residential hall overlooking the building in response to an early morning fire on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023.

Students evacuated Palo Verde East on Thursday morning following reports of smoke and a fire. The building remains closed, and residents may be displaced through the weekend.

The fire occurred in a storage closet on the first floor of Palo Verde East, the University said in a statement. The fire was extinguished, no one was injured and damage was minimal according to the statement.

"Power at the building has been shut off ... while water damage in the basement and on the first and second floors is assessed along with the electrical system for the building," the statement said.

The statement said about 320 PVE residents will be provided temporary housing beginning today. Residents are instructed to retrieve their belongings and report to the Desert Financial Arena to learn of their accommodations. Students should also be prepared to be displaced all weekend. 

An ASU LiveSafe notification was sent out to all ASU students at 9:30 a.m. informing them of smoke and fire at PVE. However, many student residents of PVE said they did not hear fire alarms on their floor and were notified by their community assistant to exit the building.

ASU Police Department spokesperson Adam Wolfe did not verify claims regarding the fire alarm system but that "all aspects of the incident will be investigated by responding fire safety personnel from both ASU and the City of Tempe."

Prior to the sounding of fire alarms, multiple students also reported a power outage in PVE. 

"The electricity went off right before the alarms went off, that's how I knew something was wrong," said Aspin Ross, a freshman studying anthropology and resident of PVE.  

In March, Palo Verde West next door was evacuated due to a fire, and students reported a similar situation of fire alarms not being operational on certain floors.

READ MORE: Students evacuated from Palo Verde West dorms following fire

UPDATE: As of Monday, Palo Verde East reopened to its over 300 residents, according to an ASU spokesperson.

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, to include new information on the relocated students. This story is developing and may be updated further. 

Edited by Shane Brennan and Angelina Steel.

Reach the reporter at and and follow @nerdyoso and @jasminekabiri on Twitter. 

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Jasmine KabiriAssignment Editor

Jasmine Kabiri is the assignment editor at The State Press, overseeing and editing stories produced by the six digital desks. She has previously worked as a reporter at The Daily Camera and Cronkite News.

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