Weber Hall may have been evacuated Wednesday evening, but the tests must go on

Tanner Bayless, junior in computer science, takes his Applied Matrix Theory exam on a handrail outside Weber Hall after the building was evacuated due to reported smoke Wednesday evening. (Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

Snowy banks and cold weather may not have cancelled classes at K-State on Wednesday, but reports of smoke briefly shut down Weber Hall in the evening, just as a couple of exams were underway.

At 8:11 p.m. the Manhattan Fire Department says it received a call reporting smoke in the building. Inside the building, students were busy reviewing for their first exam with Dave Nichols, professor of animal sciences and industry.

Sirens and lights blared past Moore Hall, and fire trucks pulled into a parking lot across the street from the residence hall. One of them extended their ladders to access the roof of Weber Hall.

“The firemen came in and said there was an active alarm and we needed to vacate the building,” Nichols said

K-State Police Department officers assisted the firefighters in clearing the building of students and faculty.

Matthew Nager, graduate teaching assistant in mathematics, was overseeing an Applied Matrix Theory exam when he and the class were told to evacuate the building because of a fire.

Despite the setback, Nichol’s class continued with their review while the fire department checked the building.

“We are having a review session and these poor souls that are brave are out here asking me questions,” Nichols said. “I can draw out the answers on the snow if I have to.”

“I’m 64 years old. I’ve taught forever, and this is the first time this has ever happened to me,” Nichols joked with his students.

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Standing on top of his truck, a driver for the Manhattan Fire Department looks towards Weber Hall as his fellow firefighters investigate the source of smoke in Weber Hall. At 8:11 p.m. a call was registered with the Manhattan Fire Department reporting smoke in the building. (Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

Nager’s students sat around the southeastern entrance and continued with their exam, putting pencil to paper atop handrails and backpacks in place of desks.

After the Manhattan Fire Department did an investigation, they concluded that there was no fire and theorized that the source of smoke came from a faulty HVAC unit.