John Atkins recalls the atmosphere on campus before and after an arsonist set a fire that destroyed Pullen Hall in 1965. Interview on June 14, 2011. (1:57)


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It was a frightening time but it also was a time of great student intrigue 00:00:00 - 00:00:05
and the kind of who-dun-it syndrome set in. 00:00:06 - 00:00:10
Being where Pullen Hall was and where the school of design was- 00:00:11 - 00:00:15
and the fact we never left the school of design until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning 00:00:16 - 00:00:19
-when that fire broke out, which was give or take about midnight, 00:00:20 - 00:00:23
I mean we could see the blaze, and of course we all moved-I say we all; maybe there were, I don't know, twenty-five of us or whatever 00:00:24 - 00:00:32
-but we all moved over, and I mean it was just absolutely incredible, 00:00:33 - 00:00:37
and of course it was a wood frame building. 00:00:38 - 00:00:42
I've never seen a fire like that since then, 00:00:43 - 00:00:48
I mean just an incredible fire, and then of course these fires would start showing up in other places. 00:00:49 - 00:00:55
At that time at the university you could almost go in any academic building any time of the day. 00:00:56 - 00:01:01
I mean there just wasn't the security that you have on campus today, 00:01:02 - 00:01:05
They did not catch-. The academic year finished up and they had not caught the culprit. 00:01:06 - 00:01:12
It was well into the summer before they caught the individual who did it, 00:01:13 - 00:01:17
I wouldn't sit here and tell you we all went around in great fear, 00:01:18 - 00:01:22
but it was frightening in a sense of a disturbing way, that this would be going on at campus. 00:01:23 - 00:01:29
It's certainly not the frightening kind of sense of what we live with in today's world, 00:01:30 - 00:01:34
though I'm not saying we go around every day thinking about it, of a terrorist kind of thing, 00:01:35 - 00:01:40
and as I say all the who-dun-it stuff probably played out more than anything that dealt with fright or fear. 00:01:41 - 00:01:49

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