Lighting fixture sets plastic trash can on fire Thursday night at Jefferson Hall.
The first floor lighting fixture in the women’s restroom of Jefferson Hall at Ohio University caught a plastic trash can on fire on Thursday at about 10 p.m., setting the room in flames, according to officials.
OU Police officer Kevin Frith said the bathroom was “pretty smoky in there” and “burnt up pretty bad.”
The fire scare occurred toward the side of East Union Street. No one was in the bathroom at the time of the fire.
“Some plastic got too hot from the lighting fixture and I guess caught the trash can on fire,” said OUPD Officer Zachary Hahn.
From what could be seen through the windows of the building, a mirror fell off the wall, and burnt wood was being taken from out of the bathroom and moved outside. Doors were open to let the smoke dissipate from the scene.
The fire was already out when the fire department came, as a maintenance worker put it out, said Conner Parthemore, a sophomore and resident assistant in Jefferson Hall.
Hahn said the Athens Fire Department came in with their two procedural firetrucks planning on whatever fire was in the building.
The trashcan was already outside and extinguished, half melted and burnt through.
No one knows how the technicalities of the fire happened.
Parthemore, a biochemistry major, said he was not surprised the whole bathroom spread into a small fire.
“It smelled like burnt styrofoam when I was helping students evacuate the building,” Parthemore said. “Whenever that happens, objects burn hotter they seem to appear, and it can get bad quickly.”
Jefferson Hall residents stood in the cold, 40-degree weather for over an hour waiting for the alarm to be reset by the Athens Fire Department. Resident assistants encouraged the students to go to Read Hall to watch the Bengals vs. Browns football game, reasoning it was better than waiting outside.
After 11:20 p.m., students were allowed back into the dorm.