Texas Student Media building evacuated


Tamir Kalifa

Members of the Austin Fire Department test for chemicals and toxic gas levels in The Daily Texan office after being alerted of a suspicious odor. The smell was the result of industrial chemicals used to paint the former printing press room for University use.

Daily Texan staff members sat on the plaza of the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center on Thursday evening after learning paint masks were not enough to protect them from potentially toxic fumes in their office.

The William Randolph Hearst Building was evacuated for about two hours because of painting in the room that formerly housed the Texan’s printing press.

“I’m the dean of the school. I understand about journalism deadlines, but I can’t be sure you all will be safe if you stay down here,” said College of Communication Dean Roderick Hart.

Within minutes, Jesse H. Jones Communication Center – Building A also had to be evacuated after someone pulled a fire alarm, said building services supervisor Jason Shoumaker.

Electrical engineering senior Tristan Jesse was in a photography class in the building when the alarm went off.
“I really just kind of laughed,” Jesse said. “I would guess someone was taking a final, and they didn’t want to finish it.”