Paralyzed student trapped in U-M dorm during fire drill - FOX 32 News Chicago

Paralyzed student trapped in U-M dorm during fire drill

Posted: Updated:
Drew Clayborn, 19, at his seventh-floor dorm room Drew Clayborn, 19, at his seventh-floor dorm room
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WJBK) -

19-year-old Drew Clayborn is now a sophomore at the University of Michigan after becoming paralyzed while practicing a backflip for a high school musical four years ago. He and his family haven't let his wheelchair get in the way of anything - but Sunday night wasn't within their control.

Drew usually goes home for the weekends but this past weekend he stayed in his seventh floor dorm for the first time. Sunday night, the fire alarm went off.

"It was a little nerve wracking just because we weren't sure if we were going to have to go tumbling down some stairs, or what to expect. It was a little scary," Drew tells Fox 2's Amy Lange.

For the first time, Drew felt trapped.

His roommates were there with him but he and his chair weigh 600 pounds.

Drew's RA came and called public safety. Public safety came but still no rescue - and no word on whether there was, in fact, a fire for about 20 minutes.

"Whatever protocol they had it ... came up short last night and that they really need to address it and make sure. There's no more of a helpless feeling than being in a situation where you can't do anything," Drew's father, Ledon Clayborn, says.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to hear more from Drew and his dad in Fox 2's Amy Lange's report


The fire turned out to be a false alarm; it was a hot water pipe that burst in the basement.

A spokesperson with the University of Michigan tells Fox 2 that policies and procedures are in place and were followed.

Drew might not have known, but more than one person had contacted dispatch to tell them about Drew. Had the situation been a real emergency, firefighters would have evacuated him.

It's not clear why there was such confusion but it's a good reminder for every family to always know your escape plan.

  • Amy LangeMore from Amy LangeMore>>

  • Three arrested after military reservist killed during carjacking

    Three arrested after military reservist killed during carjacking

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:01:39 GMT
    A third suspect is under arrest in the carjacking and murder of a young man outside the Superland Market at Schoolcraft Road and Rutland Street Monday night.
    A third suspect is under arrest in the carjacking and murder of a young man outside the Superland Market at Schoolcraft Road and Rutland Street Monday night.
  • Fire from lightning strike devastates Roseville church

    Fire from lightning strike devastates Roseville church

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:10 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:10:35 GMT
    A raging fire happens in Roseville and of all places to be struck by lightning - the steeple of the New Life Church of God in Christ.Pastor Darrell Moore and his family are devastated."I got here and I found out I really didn't have a church anymore, " he said. Moore was attending a Sunday evening service at another church, when a member of new life called him repeatedly. When he finally answered, it was bad news."The fire department was here, there was water everywhere," said Mary Moore, mot...
    A raging fire happens in Roseville and of all places to be struck by lightning - the steeple of the New Life Church of God in Christ.Pastor Darrell Moore and his family are devastated."I got here and I found out I really didn't have a church anymore, " he said. Moore was attending a Sunday evening service at another church, when a member of new life called him repeatedly. When he finally answered, it was bad news."The fire department was here, there was water everywhere," said Mary Moore, mot...
  • Charges to be determined after teen dies in car crash

    Charges to be determined after teen dies in car crash

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:59:07 GMT
    Seven teenagers were on their way back from a bonfire late Friday night. A 16-year-old girl was behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition with her mom also in the car.
    Seven teenagers were on their way back from a bonfire late Friday night. A 16-year-old girl was behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition with her mom also in the car.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Prosecutor to discuss sex-assault allegations against former Tigers pitcher Evan Reed

    Prosecutor to discuss sex-assault allegations against former Tigers pitcher Evan Reed

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:27 AM EDT2014-07-30 11:27:48 GMT
    Evan ReedEvan Reed
    Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy plans to hold a news conference to announce the results of the warrant review regarding former Tigers pitcher Evan Reed.
    Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy plans to hold a news conference to announce the results of the warrant review regarding former Tigers pitcher Evan Reed.
  • Attorney wants investigation of city clerk over Arab-American voter suppression

    Attorney wants investigation of city clerk over Arab-American voter suppression

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:43:20 GMT
    It is the tale of two cities. one paints a picture of a meticulous Dearborn Heights city clerk, following the law and fighting for a fair election. The other a story of abuse of power, mishandled ballots and voter suppression.Fatima Abdrabboh is an attorney and Michigan's director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee the largest chapter in the country. She is calling for a full-scale investigation into claims that Walter Prusiewicz mishandled ballots from Arab-American voters fo...
    It is the tale of two cities. one paints a picture of a meticulous Dearborn Heights city clerk, following the law and fighting for a fair election. The other a story of abuse of power, mishandled ballots and voter suppression.Fatima Abdrabboh is an attorney and Michigan's director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee the largest chapter in the country. She is calling for a full-scale investigation into claims that Walter Prusiewicz mishandled ballots from Arab-American voters fo...
  • Warren grandparents upset after grandchildren see racist graffiti at park

    Warren grandparents upset after grandchildren see racist graffiti at park

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:15 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:15:40 GMT
    Tuesday afternoon Bruce and Lubertha Callaway took their grandchildren to Shaw Park in Warren when they saw something they couldn't believe.
    Tuesday afternoon Bruce and Lubertha Callaway took their grandchildren to Shaw Park in Warren when they saw something they couldn't believe.
Powered by WorldNow

205 N. Michigan Avenue
Ground Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Station Operator: (312) 565-5532
Newsroom: (312)565-5533

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices