Butane Torch May Have Been Catalyst for Fire in HSU Dorms, According to University Police


Humboldt State University HSU [Photo by Oliver Cory]

Press release from Humboldt State:

A fire in a Humboldt State University residence hall was quickly extinguished on Sunday, Oct. 2.

University Police responded to a room in the Pepperwood Residence Hall around 11:20 p.m. on the report of a room fire. Orion Sage Parker, 21, a non-student and guest of a student resident, allegedly used a butane torch to light isopropyl alcohol that had been spilled onto the carpet.

An HSU community advisor was able to put out the fire with an extinguisher. Parker was arrested on suspicion of felony arson. No one was injured in the fire.

HSU reminds students not to cover smoke detectors in residence halls. For students who live off campus, make sure there is a working smoke detector in every room, and test the batteries twice per year. Know evacuation routes and meet up points.

To prevent fires, keep things like towels away from heat sources, avoid “daisy-chaining” electrical cords, and always keep an eye on candles and other sources of flame.



  • Either an semi-innocent prank gone bad or Darwin award?

  • So does every prank gone bad or stupid act have to bring a response by cops, arrest, courts and prison? No wonder this country has more people in jail per capita than any other country in the world.

    The most likely explanation for this — other than outright stupidity — is Mr. “Genius” Orion got isopropyl alcohol confused with methyl alcohol. Methyl burns at a quite low temperature with a very low calorific value so you can light small amounts on fire on the floor — NOT carpet — without too much danger. Isopropyl is another matter and burns similarly to gasoline.

    Back to cops & arrest for this……….The more this kind of thing continues, the closer this society is to a revolution — and it`s not going to be pretty.


  • HSU’s advise on smoke detectors is bad. You should test your smoke alarm weekly and change the batteries twice a year (you can pick daylight savings, or the solstice or equinox).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *