Central Michigan University’s Campbell Hall was evacuated at about midnight Wednesday after a small fire broke out in the kitchenette on the first floor.
Police report that the fire was started accidentally.
Residents believe that a stove knob was bumped, turning the burner on and causing a basket placed near it to catch fire. The fire alarm and sprinkler systems were activated.
Police and two fire trucks arrived on the scene. The fire was quickly put out.
Traverse City senior Megan Gill said her room is next to the kitchen. She had been preparing for freshman orientation when the alarms went off.
“We were all just sitting in there preparing stuff for the last orientation session, and something went off in the kitchen, sparking something,” she said. “The first thing we saw was the sprinklers going off, and there was a large black puddle seeping out of the kitchen.”
All of Campbell Hall’s safety devices worked correctly and safety procedures went according to plan, said CMU Police Officer Carl Williams.
“The entire system did exactly what it was designed to do,” he said. “In the kitchenette area, the sprinkler system activated … like it was supposed to. The water damage is excess water that came out of the kitchenette.”
The sprinkler system caused heavy flooding, and first floor residents were unable to access their rooms while cleanup was underway.
The stove will be replaced and other repairs to the kitchenette will be required. No other areas were damaged by fire. At this time, it is unknown whether there was any significant water damage to resident property caused by the sprinklers.
Many residents who work on campus were sleeping or preparing for bed at the time of the incident.