An oven caught fire on Sunday, Feb. 26, causing Oak Run 540 to be evacuated.
The fire began in apartment three at 7:30pm, after Junior resident Hannah Francis used the oven to heat up a gyro.
“I used the broiler function and we had never used that before,” Francis said of the incident. When she and her roommate noticed that the room was filling with black smoke, Francis unplugged the oven; however, this did not stop the smoke.
“My roommate noticed that the smoke kept coming out and decided to look in the oven. She opened it up and saw that there were flames inside,” Francis said.
From there, Francis and her roommate went to get their RA, Senior Mariah Garrett.
“I was already on my way down. When I realized that the smoke alarm was going off more than it should after a normal burnt bag of popcorn I thought I should check it out,” Garrett said. “I was the one that went in with the fire extinguisher. I don’t know if I put it out because the smoke was still bad after that.”
“At that point I had other residents clearing out the building, so I just had to go back and check, do a head count, and then call all the appropriate people,” Garrett said.
At this point the fire department came. “We are assuming it was a malfunction in the oven,” Bourbonnais Deputy Fire Chief Jim Keener said. “The fire was already put out when we got there, so we just ventilated the area.”
Assistant Director of Public Safety, Darren Blair, said they believe the fire to have been grease related.
“The fire was contained in the oven. It was nothing that we would consider to be abnormal when it comes to cooking fires,” Blair said. “There was no damage to the apartment, just smoke and they sprayed the chemical fire extinguisher, so there was the dry chemical.”
Francis said that there was no damage to the floor either. “They took out the oven and they are getting us a new one, so that is a good thing.”
“The RA’s did exactly what they are taught to do,” the Director of Public Safety, Dale Newsome, said. “They took the fire extinguisher, put it out and then got everyone out of the building.”
This is the second fire to take place in a residential apartment during the 2016-17 school year. The first fire took place in Grand 441 at the end of the fall semester. The fire began in the air-conditioning unit. No one was injured in this incident.
Newsome said that students can find information on crime and fires that occur on campus through the daily fire and crime log. Public Safety is required to release this information under the Clery Act .
“I’m just glad everyone is okay and that it was resolved relatively fast,” Garret said.