Fire at Prentice Hall

No serious injuries in blaze started by fallen lamp in second-floor room

WATCH videos and VIEW photos of the fire, and LISTEN to witnesses recount the blaze.

Flames shooting from the second floor window of Prentice Hall forced students to evacuate last night.

One person was transported to Robinson Memorial Hospital for smoke inhalation, according to a Kent State police press release last night. There were no other injuries.

Chief John Peach of the Kent State Police Department said the fire began after a lamp fell onto a beanbag chair, which smoldered for a while before creating flames.

About 100 students ran to the west side of the building and stood on top of the hill near the May 4 Memorial to watch the fire. There, several students were crying, some screamed about clothes and broken windows, but most just watched the flames. Before the fire department extinguished the blaze, hundreds had gathered to watch, some taking pictures with their cell phones.

Although flames from the second floor reached the roof, Peach said most of the damage was a result of smoke and water from the sprinkler system.

Betsy Joseph, director of residence services, said the room where the fire originated was engulfed, but the floor above it was not damaged by the flames.

The worst of the damage, Peach said, occurred in the short wing of the second floor. He added that the first and third floors could possibly be in good enough condition to allow those residents to return today.

Joseph told Prentice Hall residents gathered in the Dunbar Hall lounges that they had the option to stay with friends or move to open residence hall rooms for the rest of the night.

“Everyone is safe, and that’s the most important thing,” Joseph told residents.

Students, in small groups, were able to retrieve some necessary belongings from their rooms after the fire was extinguished.

Lauren Beattie, freshman fashion merchandising major, lives on the second floor, near the room where the fire started. She said the fire alarm didn’t go off, but she smelled smoke for about 45 minutes.

“You couldn’t see any smoke,” she said. “You just smelled it. We thought it was our heater.”

Freshman communications major Casey Zimmerman also lives on the floor. She said the fire started in Room 244.

She saw some flames come from below a beanbag chair as the student who lives there lifted up some of her clothes. They called a residence hall director, who pulled the fire alarm.

Joseph said students can find further information about the incident from the Dunbar Hall area desk after noon today.

Contact safety reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected] and enterprise reporter Amadeus Smith at [email protected].

College of Business Administration reporter Andrea Sinclair contributed reporting.