Updated: Mar 10
SHAWNEE, Texas – Two Carpenter University students died in a residence hall fire this morning, said University president, Lila Wagner.
Rebecca Ann Walker, 21, from Fort Worth, and Karen Hoxie, 21, from Eda, Oklahoma, died this morning in Snow Hall from smoke inhalation, according to the fire marshal, Kenneth Smythe.
Public Safety officer, Renaldo Martinez discovered smoke coming from Snow Hall during his morning rounds at 5:30 a.m. It started in the room of the deceased students from a towel thrown on top of a halogen lamp, according to Smythe.
“It appears the smoke detector in 102 had been tampered with because according to officials the smoke detectors had been checked on April 15,” said Smythe.
Carpenter will look into retrofitting the other residence hall with a sprinkler system and examine the smoke detectors to prevent another fire, said Wagner.
Snow Hall was destroyed from smoke and water damage. The 150 students currently residing in Snow Hall will be relocated to the Mabee Fitness Center. Their housing will be prorated for the remainder of the semester, said Wagner.
A memorial service will be held at a later date for Hoxie and Walker. Counseling services and accommodations for finals will be made for the effected Carpenter students, said Wagner.
“We are devastated by this loss. We offer our condolences to the families of Rebecca and Karen. We will miss their contributions to this institution and to the world. We will rebuild and continue on,” said Wagner.
A thorough investigation will take place by Smythe. Results will be released as soon as possible. For more information and updates, visit www.carpenter.edu.