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The Murray State News

Students, faculty evacuate building after fire alarm signals

Rebeca Mertins Chiodini
Students stand outside Faculty Hall waiting for the all-clear from the fire department.

Faculty and students evacuated from Faculty Hall Wednesday afternoon after a fire alarm sounded.

Associate professor of Spanish, Ben Post, was the faculty member who pulled the alarm, after seeing smoke in the west stairwell of the building.

“When I looked down through the stairwell [from the fourth floor], I could see some discoloration,” he said. “There was something in the air between me and the floor.”

Post relayed this information to his colleague, Tanya Romero-González, who was on the phone with campus police.

Romero-González said she smelled burning plastic, and some of her students had said it was gas.

Post said the police officer Romero-González was speaking with instructed them to pull the fire alarm.

“We spent about 20 seconds trying to figure out where the fire alarm was,” he said. “I saw it at the end of the hall [so I] pulled it and then the alarm started sounding about 5 seconds later, and we all evacuated.”

Shawn Touney, executive director of Marketing and Communications, said a vending machine malfunction was the cause of smoke.

Drake Harbolt, a Japanese Translation and Interpretation senior, said he had been in the stairwell 20 minutes before the alarm sounded, but hadn’t noticed smoke.

“[After the fire alarm was pulled], the trucks got here so fast,” he said. “By the time I walked out of the foyer they were here.”

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About the Contributors
Caroline Blakeman
Caroline Blakeman, Assistant News Editor
Caroline Blakeman is a sophomore pursuing a bachelor of arts in journalism. She is also an honors student. In her free time, she loves listening to classic rock, reading or taking naps.
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini, Photography Editor
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini began photographing for The News in fall 2022 and began Photo Editor in 2023. She loves to photograph all things sports, but especially baseball. A journalism major, she minors in Spanish and Photography.

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