The Marshall Student Center (MSC) was “popping” Tuesday night.
However, when a bag of popcorn was left cooking for too long, the building had to be evacuated.
Robert Herron, night-shift facility manager for the MSC, said the building was occupied by roughly 500 students when the fire alarm sounded at 7:48 p.m. The fire alarm was automatically triggered when a bag of burnt popcorn was removed from a microwave in the SkyPad lounge on the fourth floor of the MSC, he said.
Alex Auto, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, said he was in the SkyPad and saw the student cooking the popcorn. It seemed he set the power on the microwave too high for too long, Auto said.
“I saw the smoke when someone took a bag of popcorn from the microwave,” he said.
Almost instantly, the fire alarm went off in the building.
Anytime the fire alarm system goes off, Herron said, the building must be completely evacuated.
The building was cleared and students were allowed back in at approximately 8:13 p.m. Though this wasn’t the first time the building was evacuated for a bag of burnt popcorn — the same thing happened about four months ago — Herron said it was an unusual event.
Kaitlyn Hays, a freshman majoring in political science, said the MSC staff responded appropriately during the evacuation.
“It’s burnt popcorn,” she said. “What are you going to do?”
— Reporting by Alex Rosenthal