1965 Pullen Hall Fire

John Atkins recalls the atmosphere on campus before and after an arsonist set a fire that destroyed Pullen Hall in 1965.

Interview on 2011-06-14


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