At midnight, in the freezing cold, a group of Tarleton State University students huddled outside together for warmth, surrounded by the flashing lights of fire trucks and police cars.
Some students were wrapped in blankets, while others were literally out in the cold, wrapped in bath towels and wearing flip-flops.
The students were evacuated suddenly, when fire alarms sounded in Ferguson and Bender Halls about 11:30 p.m., Thursday. According to university officials, a fire extinguisher on the second floor of Ferguson Hall triggered in a corner, causing the smoke alarm to go off. Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue responded, as well as Tarleton and Stephenville police departments.
Students from both halls were evacuated, according to Nancy Pricer, director of public information for Tarleton. She said that because the two halls are so close together, their smoke and fire alarm systems are tied together, which resulted in the double removal of students.
The incident required misplaced students to stand in the cold for less than an hour, but most felt as though it was much longer as they had very little time to grab warm clothes and were mostly outside in their pajamas.
The students were allowed to return to their rooms shortly after midnight cold, but safe.