CMU students celebrate end of year by torching couches - WSMV Channel 4

CMU students celebrate end of year by torching couches

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The burned marks left behind from this weekend's couch fire in Mount Pleasant. The burned marks left behind from this weekend's couch fire in Mount Pleasant.
Students blowing off some steam by igniting furniture. Students blowing off some steam by igniting furniture.
MOUNT PLEASANT, MI (WNEM) -

Central Michigan University is making waves on YouTube, but not in the way the school administration wants.

A fiery scene took place in Mount Pleasant early Sunday morning when hundreds of students gathered around burning couches, chanting "USA!"

Police were called in to break up the scene, which was captured from above on a student's cell phone.

CMU senior Ben Smith described to TV5 what he witnessed Saturday night. He was there when a party in his Mount Pleasant neighborhood got a little crazy. "About 11:30 p.m. is when the chaos started happening," said Smith. "[A] Couch got put in the street and all of a sudden we hear 'fire.'"

Hundreds of students watched as the couch went up in flames. They chanted "USA, USA!" and "Fire up Chips!" By all accounts, they were celebrating the end of the school year heading into finals week. Smith called it a festive atmosphere. 

"In four years I haven't seen that much life really brought to the streets," explained Smith. "It was really refreshing to see that we had some fight in us. Fire up Chips!"

But a Mount Pleasant Police spokesman tells TV5 that even if the kids were just out here trying to have a good time, they shouldn't have to resort to lighting a couch on fire."

"While police and fire are responding to [prevent] them getting out of control, there could be another emergency somewhere else [and] now our reaction time is delayed because of them," said spokesman Jeff Thompson.

As authorities tried to put out the fire and restore order, they had to deal with some students who didn't want the out of control party to end.

"Our officers did have bottles thrown at them and also when the fire department arrived on scene to put out the fire, they had bottles thrown at them," said Thompson.

But no one was hurt and eventually all of the students left the area without incident. In all, eight tickets were issued by police. Meanwhile, Smith is hoping something like this happens again -- but with a different outcome.

"[I talked] to an officer about maybe going into a field or something's that more regulated so that they can oversee, so they don't feel like they have to come in and enforce the law as much as they did that night," said Smith.

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