Black Lung Burns

By Mary Chan

A  small fire broke out in the Black Lounge at about 1:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, prompting the evacuation of MacEwan Hall and Student Centre and the closure of the smoking lounge for the rest of the day.

"We had a small fire that was smouldering in a chesterfield," said Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz. "The smoke caused us to evacuate the building."

According to witnesses, the fire began when someone dropped a cigarette butt into one of the couches.

"They didn’t do anything about it," said third-year Communications student Jennifer Plante. "My friend flipped over the couch and it was flaming underneath."

According to Plante, it was very smoky.

"It was just a haze that was concentrated in the front corner," Plante said. "It smelled like 30-year-old furniture burning."

As a result of the fire, the lounge was closed on Monday, forcing smokers to relocate to patios or play cards outside the lounge doors in MacEwan Hall.

"I feel really upset that one or two idiots are able to completely tear everything down," said first-year General Studies student Tracy Quayat. "A lot of people meet each other here and now they have to meet somewhere else."

According to Fritz, no one is being held responsible for the fire.

"We don’t know the origin," he said. "We can only assume it was a careless smoker. We have no reason to assume anything otherwise at this time."

The Lounge reopened Tuesday morning.

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