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Police: Fire at BYU dorm caused by student making rocket fuel

Feb 21, 2022, 10:45 AM | Updated: Feb 22, 2022, 12:15 pm
A student started a fire in his dorm after cooking rocket fuel on his stove....
Images of damage done by a fire a Heritage Halls (Building 4) dormitory room on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Photo credit: BYU Police
(Building 4)

PROVO, Utah — A student is under investigation after he started a fire in a BYU dorm while making rocket fuel in his room. He caused an explosion and fire in one of the Heritage Halls dorms.

Fire explodes out of BYU dorm room

Police officers and Provo firefighters responded to a fire on Sunday afternoon. According to BYU Police, they found that sprinklers had been activated which were flooding the main floor of a dorm room.

BYU Police Lt. Jeff Long said the student admitted he was cooking homemade rocket fuel on the stove.

“It had flashed and caused a fireball which then created enough heat that it tripped the sprinkler system,” Long said.

Investigators are still not certain why the student was making this dangerous mixture that lead to the fire in the BYU dorm. 

How the investigation is panning out

Long said they don’t know what the student was planning to do with it, but they don’t believe it was for any criminal or nefarious activity. He said it’s possible the student was just curious how to make it and researched recipes online.

“Our investigators are still digging into that.  There are still some interviews that need to be conducted with some of the residents to answer that very question of why they thought this was a good idea,” Long said.

He said this case might sound quirky, but it was actually a very dangerous situation.  This kind of fuel burns much hotter than other fuels, and 22 people live in that wing of the building.

“That type of heat and that large amount of compound really could have been devastating,” he says.

Firefighters responded quickly to the scene and nobody was injured, but BYU Police said that some dorm residents will be displaced because of the flooding. Long said they haven’t ruled out filing criminal charges.

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Police: Fire at BYU dorm caused by student making rocket fuel