By Robert Hansen and Hannah Darden
A fire alarm roused students and faculty from their classrooms when a staff member overcooked his food in Liberal Arts 152 Staff at American River College at 12:14 p.m. on Tuesday.
The cause of the fire was “just a burnt lunch” according to ARC director of operations Dan McKechnie, who shut down the alarm.
Senior information technology (IT) technician Walter Bennett was warming a steak in a toaster oven when he stepped away to speak to a colleague and forgot about his food.
“The room filled with smoke but there were no flames,” said Bennett.
However, according to McKechnie, the fire alarm program said the alarm originated in the Learning Resource Center (LRC), and it “didn’t seem to be coming from Liberal Arts.”
At the time of the initial alarm, the LRC was undisturbed.
Math 103 professor Paula Rodriguez-Rutten’s class was in the middle of taking a test when the alarm went off.
Rodriguez-Rutten stood with another faculty member who had asked if she had dismissed the class, to which Rodriguez-Rutten replied “No, I have them taking a test.”
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The class was lined up on the ground taking the test as the alarm was going off.
Professors in affected classrooms were notified within 20 minutes that it was safe to return to their classes.
A second fire alarm went off at 12:54 p.m. but was shut off after one bell.
The Current will update this story as more information becomes available.
Matthew Peirson, Justina Sharp, Joe Padilla and Matthew Nobert contributed to this report.