Sprinklers activated in Thatcher South due to kitchen fire, students evacuated

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A small fire occurred in the fourth floor kitchen in the White Oak Room of Thatcher South at about 9 p.m. Saturday. The fire alarm and sprinkler system were activated, and students from Thatcher and Thatcher South were evacuated. 

Water ran from the ceiling into Thatcher South’s lobby, covering the floor almost entirely. Isaac James, director of Marketing and University Relations, informed students of the incident in an email sent at 10:32 p.m. 

According to the email, all systems worked as intended. 

“Campus Safety and the fire department responded, and the fire was quickly extinguished,” the email stated. “No residential rooms were damaged, and thankfully there were no injuries. Residents have been cleared to return to their rooms.”

After the fire was extinguished, the Service Department began clearing the water. Campus leaders, including President Ken Shaw, Senior Vice President of Academic Administration Bob Young, Senior Vice President of Financial Administration Tom Verrill and Vice President of Student Development Dennis Negrón were also present at the scene.

The Accent was able to speak with Negrón as he assisted in letting students back into Thatcher South around 10:30 p.m. 

He said sprinklers were only activated in the area where the fire started, but water then leaked down into the lobby. He clarified that no student rooms were damaged except one, which sustained “insignificant” damage.  

 A kitchen fire causing sprinklers to go off is not common, he added, although sprinklers have been activated accidentally in the past.

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