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July 6 , 2005
CONTACT: Ward Mullens


Trashcan fire forces the evacuation of Mark Jefferson building

YPSILANTI - A trash can fire set off sprinklers and forced the evacuation of Eastern Michigan University’s Mark Jefferson science building at approximately 11:25 a.m.  today. No one was injured.

A chemical reaction started the fire in a trashcan in a laboratory on the second floor of the building, according to Cindy Hall,  chief of EMU’s department of public safety. There was no class in the room at the time, but there were students in an adjoining lab.

“We are extremely grateful that everyone got out quickly and that no one was injured,” said Hall.

EMU is currently in its summer semester, so the number of students and faculty in the building was minimal. About 60 people were evacuated, according to Hall.

The damage to the building, which was limited to the first and second floors, was caused entirely by water from the sprinkler system.

Larry Ward, of EMU’s physical plant, said that it’s too early to estimate the cost of the damage.

Mark Jefferson was built in 1970 at a cost of $7.9 million and has approximately 180,802 square feet. It is the primary science building for EMU and houses the chemistry and psychology departments.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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