One spark quickly developed into a field of flames and black smoke when the land across the street from campus caught on fire on Monday, Sept. 11 around 2 p.m.
According to Erica Glavnik, Campus Safety Supervisor, the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) had a training exercise scheduled for Monday or Tuesday. She soon realized this fire was not part of the exercise.
“I knew pretty instantly it was not a controlled fire,” Glavnik said. “It’s been an eventful first couple weeks of school.”
According to the Statesman Journal, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
While the fire did not pose an immediate threat to the campus due to the direction of the winds, students and faculty did receive several Corban Alerts regarding the status of the fire.
“We did a pre-evacuation of all the lower buildings,” Glavnik said. “If the fire had come closer we would have kept evacuating further and further. If that had happened, students with their own vehicles would have loaded up with students who don’t have their own vehicles and gone off campus.”
Emergency crews closed portions of Deer Park Drive and Turner Road, forcing students to use the Aumsville Highway if they wanted to leave campus.
“[The fire] jumped across the road but it didn’t make it very far,” Glavnik said.
Many students gathered near the Barn and Campus Care buildings to observe the flames from a safe distance.
“From my classroom, all I saw was a small piece of it,” Isaac Helland said. “I thought ‘Oh it’s just a little bit of the field,’ and then I came down and saw the huge plumes of smoke.”
“I’ve seen fires, but nothing like this,” Jeremy Abbey said. “It’s clearer out there now. Maybe [Corban] could make some new townhouses.”
This is a developing story.