WKU Dorm Fire

By: Sarah Lane
By: Sarah Lane

An early morning fire leaves one student in critical condition on Sunday, and investigators suspecting foul play. Emergency crews responded to a fire alarm at Western's Hugh Poland Hall around 4 a.m. Sunday morning. The sprinkler system did put the fire out, but a female student suffered severe burns over at least half of her body.

University and police officials have not released the name of the victim, however students and family members are identifying her as Katie Autry. An online directory lists Melissa K. Autry as living in Hugh Poland Hall in Room 214, the room where the fire occurred.

EMS crews transported her to the medical center in Bowling Green, then to Vanderbilt Hospital Sunday morning. We're told by university spokesman Bob Skipper that she is in seriously critical condition and in a medically induced coma. Besides severe burns, the university has also confirmed reports of multiple puncture wounds and superficial lacerations on her body, however they say these wounds are not life threatening.

Students are saying the victim was at a fraternity party off-campus last night, and they say someone from that party drove her home, but all this is part of a continuing investigation and has not been confirmed. No suspects have been named, but investigators are conducting interviews at this time.

About 50 of the 310 students were in the nine-story building at the time of the fire. Officials say the building has been re-opened to all student residents except those living on the second floor.


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