Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Monday, June 24, 2019 — Houston, TX 84°

​RUPD reports fire in Will Rice Old Dorm bathroom Saturday morning

quad

By Emily Abdow     1/23/18 9:02pm

Rice University Police Department officers responding to a fire alarm at Will Rice College at about 2:23 a.m. on Jan. 20 found a piece of cloth smoldering inside a plastic bag, according to RUPD Captain Clemente Rodriguez.

The bag with the smoldering cloth was in a trash can in the fourth floor Old Dorm men’s restroom, Rodriguez said.

Officers saw smoke in the hallway and smelled a burning odor before locating the bag and placing it in the sink to extinguish the fire, Rodriguez said. The officers found fire damage to a metal folding chair and the carpet beneath the chair in the fourth floor study room, colloquially known as “The Weiner Hole.”



Rodriguez said the officers believe the bag was the origin of the fire that caused the alarm. He said the Houston Fire Department responded, but the fire was extinguished before they arrived.

“The individual(s) who caused the fire is unknown at this time,” Rodriguez said. “Students who have information that might be helpful to the investigation should call RUPD at 713-348-6000.”

Kelly Dong, a Will Rice freshman who also lives on fourth floor Old Dorm, said he was about to get into the shower in the fourth floor restroom in the restroom next to where the fire happened when the alarm went off.

“I didn’t really smell any smoke or see anything in the moment but I might not have been paying attention because I was startled by the fire alarm and I just ran back to my room, but on my way to the shower I smelled weed in the adjacent hallway,” Dong said.

Isabella Garza, who lives on fourth floor Old Dorm, said that about 10 minutes before the alarm, she had been in her room and had not noticed anything wrong. She said when she was allowed back in the building, about a half hour later, she smelled smoke and saw ashes on the floor of the study lounge and the burnt top of a metal chair.

“It wasn’t until the cops told everyone that had evacuated that there was a fire on the fourth floor that I knew it was real,” Garza, a Will Rice sophomore, said.

The headline and story have been updated to reflect that the fire alarm occurred on Saturday, Jan. 20 and not Friday.



More from The Rice Thresher

NEWS 6/14/19 12:15pm
Administration calls for task force to address racial justice, university history

A task force on slavery, segregation and racial injustice has been established by the university, according to an email sent by President David Leebron and Provost Marie Lynn Miranda. In the email, sent out on Tuesday, Leebron said that the task force was created to learn about instances of racial injustice in Rice’s past and examine ways to promote diversity and inclusion in its future.

NEWS 5/28/19 10:14am
Provost Miranda to step down, return to faculty role

 Provost Marie Lynn Miranda announced that she will be stepping down from her role as provost, a position she has held for the last four years, at the end of June, in an email sent last Sunday. Miranda will go on sabbatical for the 2019-2020 academic year, after which she plans on reassuming her faculty position in the department of statistics, according to Miranda’s email. Her decision follows the diagnosis of her youngest child with cancer last year.

NEWS 5/17/19 4:07pm
Bobbled Bubble? Campus reacts to confirmation of dome

“The broader university has a strategic plan — the V2C2 — and then each of the different schools are tasked with coming up with their own strategic plan,” Karlgaard said. “So I think there is a question about, ‘Should the general student body be involved in each of those strategic plans? If you are an English major, should you have input in the engineering strategic plan? If you are a non student-athlete, should you have input into the athletics strategic plan?’“


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.