Curtain Set On Fire At Covenant College's Carter Hall; Building Evacuated; Local Resident Arrested

  • Sunday, February 5, 2023
Covenant College
Covenant College

A curtain was set on fire at Covenant College's Carter Hall on Saturday night, causing the former hotel building to have to be evacuated.

Brad Voyles, Covenant's vice president for Student Development and Dean of Students, said an individual was caught on video surveillance setting the curtain on fire.

He said the person, who is not a student but was described as a local resident, was arrested.

Mr. Voyles said Carter residents were permitted to return to their rooms at approximately 11:30 p.m. after a full inspection by the fire department regarding the suitability of conditions.

He said, "In addition, our facilities staff worked tirelessly for several hours into the early morning to clean and air out the building. However, we would be happy to temporarily relocate to a different residence hall any students who have concerns about air quality."

Mr. Voyles also said, "Through video footage and the cooperation of witnesses, we were able to determine the identity of the suspect in the video setting a curtain on fire. This individual is not a member of the Covenant College community but was known as a local resident. We notified and fully cooperated with local and state authorities who arrived on site to review evidence and took the suspect into custody last night.

"We are thankful for the support of our community and for those who have worked hard to ensure our students' safety."

In an earlier message to members of the Covenant community, Mr. Voyles said, "Some of you may have heard already from your son or daughter that this evening a curtain in Carter Lobby caught fire prompting a quick acting student to pull the fire alarm and alert students to evacuate the building. All students safely exited the building.

"Sprinklers in the lobby contained and extinguished the fire quickly, and the fire department arrived on site to clear the building. We anticipate students being able to return to their rooms tonight, but are currently waiting for the fire department to complete their safety checks.

"There will be clean-up to come as a result of smoke and water damage, but we are grateful for the Lord's protection through the quick response of individuals and the work of fire-suppression systems to quickly put out the fire. Any modifications in food service times/location will be communicated to the student body, but that is not expected at this time.

"Students will be notified as soon as they are allowed to return to their rooms tonight. We are again thankful for the Lord's protection over our students and appreciate your continued prayers as we work through the clean-up process."

Carter Hall is the former Castle in the Clouds hotel that was built in 1928. It underwent extensive renovation in recent years.

Initially all Covenant student housing and classes were in Carter Hall, but a number of other buildings have been constructed on the Jackson Hill campus over a number of years.

It was named Carter Hall after Paul B. Carter, who built the hotel and was a Covenant benefactor.

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