Barnard freshman Gianna Deveney accidentally started a fire in her dorm building on Oct. 19 while creating a dress with a political message for a school project, the Columbia Spectator reported Thursday.

The dress, which was meant to include partially burned newspapers, was a “metaphor for America’s broken health-care system,” according to the Columbia Spectator. Deveney was singeing the dress in her room and accidentally caught her roommate’s duvet cover on fire.

The fire quickly grew, and the Barnard Quad was evacuated for 5 hours as nearly 80 firefighters arrived on the scene. No one was injured, although there was smoke and fire damage, and Deveney lost all of her possessions, the Spectator reported.

Deveney was receiving financial aid, including housing aid, from Barnard, according to the Spectator. Because she was found responsible for the fire, the school cancelled her housing aid permanently. She now fears she will not be able to afford to live on the Upper West Side to continue her academic career.

Deveney took responsibility for the incident. “As I closed the door, walking out of there, I knew that there was nothing, that nothing was going to be left,” she said, according to the Spectator.

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