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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

BK flamebroiled SUMC

Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Benjamin Kochman, a UA event services employee, stopped students from entering the Student Union Memorial Center on Wednesday, March 31, 2010.  Students were evacuated and others kept from entering in response to a fire alarm that went off when overheated cooking oil at the McDonalds caught fire.
Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat Benjamin Kochman, a UA event services employee, stopped students from entering the Student Union Memorial Center on Wednesday, March 31, 2010. Students were evacuated and others kept from entering in response to a fire alarm that went off when overheated cooking oil at the McDonalds caught fire.

The Student Union Memorial Center was evacuated early Wednesday afternoon after smoke was sighted coming from Burger King.

Hundreds of students were left standing outside the student union after the fire alarm sounded at approximately 12:40 p.m. Some of those students were attending the UA Spring Career Fair.

“”We did see smoke after the alarm went off,”” said Susan Miller, senior coordinator of marketing-special events in Career Services. “”In 12 years I’ve been doing the Career Days, I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s just been one thing after the other.””

According to Joy Florence, an Event Services employee, the alarm was set off when cooking oil overheated at the Burger King restaurant in the student union. The Tucson Fire Department responded to the alarm. Three firefighters, dressed in plain clothes and without equipment, entered the building. TFD could not be reached for comment as of press time. 

The firefighters left 40 minutes later, allowing students to pour back into the student union. 

Students were inside for about 20 minutes before a second fire alarm sounded, prompting yet another evacuation and another interruption to the career fair. This evacuation was much shorter, lasting less than 10 minutes. It is unknown at this time what caused the alarm to sound again.

Burger King experienced no noticeable damage from the fire, though it did not reopen in the immediate aftermath of the evacuation. Burger King employees declined to comment.

Nikolas Vallens, a finance sophomore in the Eller College of Management, had his career fair experience interrupted by both alarms.

“”I left the first time and went home until I got a message (from UA Alert),”” Vallens said. “”I came back again, and the alarm went off again. I almost didn’t come back a third time.””

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