Ferguson Center evacuated

The Ferguson Center was evacuated Monday afternoon after a grill caught fire in the Fresh Food Company Dining Hall, according to Kelli Knox-Hall, senior associate director of the Ferguson Center.

“The fire alarms went off and so we evacuated the building. We saw the smoke and that it wasn’t a drill or an alarm that went off, we did actually have a fire in the grill area of Fresh Foods,” Knox-Hall said. “Everybody got out, everybody’s fine.”

The fire triggered smoke alarms just after 4 p.m., and Knox-Hall said there wasn’t much information to be had in the immediate aftermath of the evacuation.

“That’s all we know right now,” Knox-Hall said. “We’ll get a report from TPD and Environmental Health and Safety and we’ll know more information after they get everything cleared.”

Students on the scene said the whole building was evacuated.

Tacoma Morrissey, a graduate student studying geology, said she was evacuated from the SUPeStore with a crowd of others and said there was a significant amount of smoke in the area.

Sam Gerard, a sophomore studying history and political science, was serving office hours in his role as a senator from the College of Arts and Sciences when the alarm went off.

“We heard the alarm go off and sat around in the building waiting to hear, ‘This is only a drill,’” Gerard said. “When I realized it wasn’t, I grabbed my sunglasses and cell phone and ran outside.”

Gerard said he joined a group of people outside the second floor Starbucks, but was moved by an employee of the Ferguson Center.

“At first I thought the smoke was coming from Student Affairs, but it was just the way the wind was blowing,” Gerard said.

Just before 6 p.m. Monday, Knox-Hall said early indications from Bama Dining suggested that Fresh Foods, which generally opens for breakfast at 7 a.m., would not serve the meal Tuesday morning as the scene was cleaned up. Knox-Hall said students could find breakfast at Lakeside Diner on Tuesday instead, and did not say whether or not lunch would be served in Fresh Foods Tuesday.

This story will be updated as the Crimson White gathers more information on what happened.

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