KNOXVILLE — Law enforcement officials are conducting a 24-hour fire watch in Humes Hall as a result of two small fire incidents in the building over the last two days. The fire watch will continue until further notice.
The fire watch involves a minimum of four law enforcement officers on patrol in the building at all times.
These officers are working closely with UT Housing staff members who are also on a heightened alert. Members of the fire watch will include both University of Tennessee Police Department (UTPD) and Knoxville Fire Department (KFD) officers.
UT Police and the Knoxville Fire Department are cooperating with the State Fire Marshal’s office, which is leading an investigation into the two incidents. Investigators believe the incidents are arson related.
In today’s incident, the UTPD and KFD responded at approximately 9:57 a.m. to a fire on the west wing of the third floor of Humes Hall. A bulletin board located on the floor was set on fire.
Building maintenance staff had put out the fire using fire extinguishers before UTPD and KFD arrived on scene. The building has been reopened to students. There were no injuries in today’s incident and only a bulletin board was damaged as a result of the fire.
In yesterday’s incident, a fire was discovered at approximately 1:40 p.m. in the study lounge on the west wing of the fifth floor of Humes Hall. Members of the maintenance staff were able to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher, but due to the amount of smoke in the hallway, the fire alarm was activated and students were evacuated from the building.
As a result of the smoke in the hallway, three staff members were transported to UT Medical Center for evaluation — a male maintenance staff member, a male custodial staff member, and a female student resident assistant in Humes Hall. As of 5 p.m. yesterday, all three had been released.
Contact: Karen Collins, firstname.lastname@example.org, (865-974-5186 or 865-216-6862)