Written by Nicole Licea
When the newly-formed guitar club scheduled their very first meeting at Korouva Milkbar on October 26, they had no way of knowing just how hot their gathering at the student-run coffee shop would end up being.
Around midday on that Friday, a small fire broke out in Korouva’s well-graffitied bathroom. Contrary to an anonymously provided rumor that it was Korouva employees’ collective pot stash that fueled the flame, the actual cause of the fire was an improperly wired exhaust fan.
Upon smelling burning plastic and seeing smoke, the students at the guitar club meeting notified the campus police, whose station is located directly alongside the café.
The police then took over the situation and got in touch with the fire department. Within minutes there was a fire truck on the scene.
At the sight of the fire truck outside of the tried-and-true alternative haunt, anxious students began calling the coffee shop’s workers to find out what was happening. That was how Korouva co-executive Walker Lukens found out about the entire situation.
“When I started getting calls from friends telling me Korouva was ‘on fire’, I assumed the worst,” Lukens said, “but by the time I got there, everything was pretty much under control.”
Since the fire was put out promptly, the only real damage done to the building was a charred hole on the wall space above the toilet.
“Luckily [the fire] didn’t spread.” Lukens said. “Nothing else outside the bathroom was affected, which was especially good since there was artwork still on display from a show the night before, by Houston artist OMFGLMFC.”
Besides having to clean up the soot-strewn restroom and repair and rewire the fan, there were several measures that had to be taken before Korouva could re-open its doors.
“Someone from physical plant told us that the mess would be cleared up in the next couple of days,” Lukens said, “but then they said the building would have to be checked out for safety reasons because Homecoming weekend was coming up. The fire fighters said that it was the worst wiring job they had ever seen.”
A week passed by and Korouva regulars were still left with no place to go for their fix. This caused an interruption of general procession of events at the café.
There are normally events scheduled there on Thursdays and several clubs regularly make use of the cozy indoor space or outdoor patio for meetings, including the Art Association and SEAK.
“Ideally we can re-open in a couple of weeks,” Lukens said, “but I’d place my bet on it being Thanksgiving before we can get everything sorted out.”
Expect some sort of celebration, perhaps with dancing, chanting and drumbeats, once Korouva gets back on her feet. You can refer to those effervescent campuswide e-mails for the 4-1-1 on the Clockwork-Orange-inspired café’s fate.
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