Fire in SIU Student Housing

Fire in SIU Student Housing
By: Carly O'Keefe

Carbondale, IL --Some Southern Illinois University students had an early morning scare Tuesday when their apartment building caught fire.
SIU officials say the blaze started as a grease fire in a lower-level student apartment in one of the Evergreen Terrace Buildings. The fire caused widespread damage to the building. A ll 20 residents including 6 children made it out safely; although some folks say it was a very frightening experience.

"I put my hand right here and peaked through," said SIU student Shawn Muir motioning to the peep hole in his apartment's front door. "There was nothing but milky-white smoke pouring in."

Muir and his wife Marie-Eve were asleep when the fire started. He awoke to the sounds of shouting in the hall and the fire alarm going off.

"There was smoke pouring in even though our door was closed," said Muir. That's when he pushed a towel under the door and ran to wake his wife.

"My first response was to block the smoke and get Marie-Eve out as quick as possible, because all this can go, she's what I need with me," said Muir.

The two stood out on the balcony and waited for help as their apartment quickly filled with smoke.

"I had to get below the smoke just to breathe," said Muir.

The Muir's apartment received only smoke damage. Other tenants weren't as lucky.  The fire began on the stove of a lower-level apartment when an early-morning snack ignited the blaze.

"I guess she got hungry and decided she wanted some French fries and had a grease fire and instead of using the fire extinguisher she just ran out of the apartment. It just spread from there," said SIU Maintenance Inspector John Newsome.

According to Newsome, the Tuesday morning fire is the worst he's seen in student housing his 13 years working for the school.
"It's displaced a lot of people, but we've relocated them so we're just happy no one got hurt," said Newsome.
The tenants have been relocated to other Evergreen Terrance apartments or to the university-owned Southern Hills apartment complex.