Thursday, December 2, 2021

Thursday night chaos at minimum

March 25, 2012
Firefighters put down a burt coach Thursday night at Cedar Village after Michigan State falls to Louisville in NCAA tournament. The State News
Firefighters put down a burt coach Thursday night at Cedar Village after Michigan State falls to Louisville in NCAA tournament. The State News —
Photo by State News file photo | The State News

Although nearly 20 couch fires quickly were set across the city, streets mostly were calm later in the night as police officers and firefighters came prepared to fight fires and chaos on Thursday- after the men’s basketball team was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament.

East Lansing firefighters responded to 17 fires from Thursday evening into Friday morning, most of which were couches and trash, East Lansing fire Lt. Leo Allaire said. Two dumpsters also were set ablaze.

“It’s hard to gauge what to expect,” Allaire said. “You have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

The department responded to 21 medical calls during the same period.

Two fires were set in the Cedar Village area, the site of the historic Cedar Fest riots, almost immediately after the game ended. Some police officers already were staked out in the area, quickly putting down attempts to stir chaos.

In 2008, more than 4,000 students took to the streets in a Cedar Fest revival, only to be dispersed when police unleashed tear gas during the early hours of the morning.

One man was arrested after setting fire to a pile of wood on River Street at about 10 p.m. Thursday. A swarm of more than 30 onlookers heckled police as he was put into the car.

Minutes later, a couch lit up behind the complex’s main parking garage, only to be doused by East Lansing firefighters called to the scene.

Aside from a few incidents, things stayed calm as hundreds lined streets and eventually left as police heavily patrolled the area.

“It’s been a bunch of people standing around waiting for somebody to do something,” said supply chain management freshman Steven Kish, who walked from his Brody Complex Neighborhood dorm room to Cedar Village to see the aftermath.

Other furniture fires sprung up on neighborhood streets.

A recliner chair was set on fire near the intersection of Elizabeth and Division streets at about 10:25 p.m. About an hour later, more furniture went up in flames at the intersection of Charles and Beech streets.

In other places, authorities tried to prevent fires from spreading.

“They were watering down couches so [students] could not burn them,” said communication junior Kyle Boren, who lives on Beal Street.

Despite efforts from public safety officials, glass and trash littered the street.

“I saw a lot of broken alcohol bottles — Smirnoff, beer bottles, pints,” mechanical engineering senior Jonathan Lusczakoski said.

The rest of the weekend unfolded normally, Allaire said, with average numbers of medical calls on Friday and Saturday nights.

Staff writer Isabella Shaya contributed to this report.

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