Fire Alarms cause scare in DeMattias Hall

By: Austin Schwartz, Staff Writer

The fire alarms went off in DeMattais Hall on Monday evening, forcing students to evacuate the building and sit in the cold for at least 30 minutes while the Wichita Fire Department investigated.

In the end, though, firefighters couldn’t determine what caused the alarms to sound.

The fire alarms went off at 8:03 p.m., and six students inside were forced outside.Two fire trucks arrived 10 minutes later, and eight firefighters entered the building.

They were met by a Newman security guard, John Cochran, who led them inside.

Cochran said to the firefighters that he needed assistance inside the building to determine the cause.

“I need the Lieutenant or whoever has the most men to follow me,” Cochran said.

Five minutes later, a firefighter came back out of the building and asked for a thermal machine, which is used to detect heat signatures to locate a fire.

None of the students on the scene said they were frightened by the fire but said they were more curious and confused as to what was going on.

“I wish I understood what their lingo means,” said John Suffield, junior art major.

“I’m just cold,” said Emily Maddux, junior history major, who then received hot tea from Mihn Nguyen, a junior biology major.

“We should have gone to a different building since we can’t go inside to study for finals,” said Rebekah Lipinski, a senior business major.

The students began to try and make light of the situation.

“The lights are so festive! Like Christmas,” Maddux said.

At 8:31, fire crews left the building and loaded back into their vehicles. They proceeded to load into their vehicles and drive away without notifying the students if the situation was resolved.

“I take that as we can go back inside.” Lipinski said.

Cochran said that there was no smoke or fire. The alarms were triggered from the vents detection system and the fire department reset the system.

“In all my time here I’ve never witnessed the fire alarm go off in this building. I am just bfwa [as he made a mind-blown signal with his hands]” Cochran said.

“I’ve spent more time in this building than I have at home over the past five years, and it’s never gone off,” Lipinski said.

PHOTO: Austin Schwartz, Staff Writer