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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A day of disruptions at the UA

    A fire broke out in a storage room underneath an exterior stairwell located on the ground floor on the eastside of the Student Union Memorial Center on Thursday.

    Joel Hauff, associate director of the student union for facilities and operations, said that the fire started after someone dropped a cigarette through about a half-inch crack, igniting a crate of newspapers that were being stored in the room.

    “”Someone was smoking upstairs or on the stairwell, where they are not supposed to, and they dropped their cigarette butt . . . this is totally freaky, someone managed to flick it or drop it into that crack,”” Hauff said. “”It fell down into that crack, into this room, landed on a pile of newspapers that were being stored in there . . . (and) caught on fire.””

    Hauff said that a passerby pulled a nearby fire alarm after they saw smoke coming from the area.

    “”Smoke was coming out of the side over here so some very alert people saw it and pulled the fire alarm. Our maintenance mechanic came and opened the door grabbed a fire extinguisher and put it out.””

    University of Arizona Police Department Sergeant Juan Alvarez said police were called to the scene about 10 minutes after 3 p.m. and people were asked to leave the building for safety precautions.

    “”The building was evacuated for about 35 to 40 minutes while they investigated and made sure the scene was secure,”” Alvarez said. “”(Tucson Fire Department) evaluated the situation and said that the building was secure and that there was no more danger and the building was reopened.””

    Shivhan Nettles, a computer engineering junior, said she was just looking to get something to eat before she had to go to class, but was caught off guard when she saw people leaving the union as she was trying to go it.

    “”When I was actually walking in, a lot of Papa John’s employees were running out,”” Nettles said.

    Hauff said the accident had about a one-in-1,000 chance of happening, but he can assure that it will not happen again.

    “”We will be making sure that nothing flammable will be stored in this room, and we’re going to seal this up so nothing can be dropped down . . . (which will be completed) within the next couple of days,”” Hauff said.

    Kevin Moffat, an undeclared freshman, was in the student union at the time the fire alarm sounded, but was shocked when he found out that there had actually been a fire.

    “”Every year you normally get lots of fire alarms and fire routines that you have to go through, but I have never actually experienced one where you actually had to evacuate because there was a fire,”” Moffat said.

    Hauff said that there was no damage and no one was hurt from the incident.

    “”I’m sure we will never figure out who dropped it down the side,”” Hauff added, “”We will probably ask questions to see if anyone saw anything, but I would imagine that we won’t be able to determine who did it.””

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