MUNCIE — A smoky pre-dawn fire in an employee break room of Ball State University’s largest dormitory complex caused the evacuation of some 1,900 student for more than four hours Wednesday.

One student was treated for minor smoke inhalation from the fire broke out about 4 a.m. in the basement of LaFollette Complex, university spokesman Tony Proudfoot said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately determined, but Muncie fire Battalion Chief Terry Moore it began in a break room.

“Some maintenance men advised us that the fire was in a kitchen area or break room for the custodians,” Moore told the student-operated Web site NewsLink Indiana.

The students who live in the complex were moved to the school’s nearby basketball arena and allowed back to their rooms at 8:15 a.m.

“We had a major issue trying to get all of the students out,” Moore said. “That became our biggest problem because they weren’t hearing fire alarms.”

Student Michael Konopasek said he thought at first that he was dreaming when he smelled the smoke.

“The whole hallway was filled with white smoke,” he said. “As we were going down the stairwells, there was smoke all over the place, so it was on more than one level. It was pretty crazy.”

Courses held in the building’s classrooms will be moved for at least a week, Proudfoot said.

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