Quick Response Saves Squires Auditorium From Fire Disaster

Reported By: Lee Peck

Known for it's dramatic performances, the drama was very real Wednesday afternoon at McNeese's Squires Auditorium.

"Students began smelling smoke, they called university police, university police responded, fire alarms were set off," said University Spokesperson Candace Townsend.

Students and faculty were safely evacuated out of the Sherman Fine Arts Building as Lake Charles Firefighters received the call for help.

A stage light in the theatre is said to be the culprit, which caught the curtains on fire. 7 News is told students actually used fire extinguishers to fight off the small blaze until firefighters could arrive on scene.

"When we arrived the fire was on the curtains and it started rising higher and higher, it was a very quick response time that we had a very quick attack and were able to save this building," said Lake Charles Fire Investigator Captain Jeremy LeBlanc.

Aside from a lot of smoke, firefighters say it could have been much worse, calling the damage "minor."

"We are going to make sure that all of the smoke is out of the building and make sure everything is safe to go inside. We don't want anyone to go inside and inhale anything they shouldn't inhale," said LeBlanc.

The building remains closed off, as classes in Sherman were canceled for the night. "Because there is still some lingering smoke in the building, we will be having disaster recovery companies come in tomorrow and clean the seats in Squires. And at this time we anticipate that nothing will have to be canceled," explaned Townsend.

But before the next performance and curtain call, the university will have to purchase some new ones.

All classes in the Sherman Fine Arts Building will resume Thursday as scheduled. Meanwhile campus police are staying overnight to make sure the fire doesn't restart.