Students poured out onto the lawns on every side of the PCC Center for the Arts building on the morning of Thursday, April 25 after a shriek of fire alarms rang out. The cause of the fire: a microwave attached to Dean Joseph Futtner’s offices.
Students stood outside holding art supplies, trombones, guitars and more as the smell of burnt popcorn filtered out, overwhelmingly strong. While Futtner was outside telling other faculty that a toaster was the cause of the fire, he was unavailable for further questioning due to hiring committee obligations.
An average Joe was in the Visual Arts and Media Studies division luckily nearby to save the building. Professor Nathan McIntire was in the building hoping he could speak to Dean Futtner when the aroma of burning foil filled the room.
“A woman came in, she seemed panicked, she was pointing to the hallway and said that there was smoke and there might be a fire,” said McIntire. “So I went outside and [saw that] there was a lot of smoke but I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I thought the best thing to do would be to pull the fire alarm. So I pulled it [but] nothing happened. I [decided] to push it and then a piercing noise went off and everybody evacuated the building.”
While the fire alarm was going off, no Pasadena Fire Department was seen responding, only the PCC campus police.
“We responded over there since there was smoke in the CA building and the alarm was pulled,” Officer Ruben Ortiz said. “We spoke to Dean Futtner who’s in charge of the C building and he notified us that someone put foil on the microwave which caused a short and it started to smoke.”
Campus security emptied out the building and checked every floor as a precaution to ensure there was no other fire hazards.
“There was a toaster on top of the microwave and once the smoke came up, it looked like it was from the toaster,” Ortiz said.
While the whole ordeal was no more than 20 minutes, the culprit of the fire now resides in the trash can.
“[I]t turned out it was just a toaster fire that did not claim the lives of any students,” McIntire said. “I saved the day. Yes I am a hero and I expect a parade.”
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