Police and fire officials responded Monday to an incident at the Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution after a man described as “unstable” created a disturbance at the offices.
A Duncum Center employee called police Monday at around 11:40 a.m. after the man walked through the center lobby and into a nonpublic area of the building, said ACU Police Chief Jimmy Ellison. He said center employees were concerned because the man appeared unstable.
Ellison said the man placed a wooden item into a microwave in the building’s kitchen and turned the microwave on, causing a fire in the appliance that set off the building’s fire alarm.
The smoke has since been cleared with no permanent damage to the building, he said.
As of 1:30 p.m. Monday, the man was undergoing the process of a mental health evaluation. For that reason, his name has not been released by ACUPD.
The Abilene Fire Marshal is assisting ACUPD in deciding whether to file criminal charges in relation to the microwave fire. Ellison said the case is active and under investigation, with the final decision depending on the outcome of the evaluation.
“Today’s incident was a good example of staff people recognizing a problem and calling it in immediately,” Ellison said. “It was called in quickly, it was handled quickly, contained quickly, and we will be moving forward however we need to once we determine his mental capacity.”
Ellison said the incident appeared more ominous than it was.
“It looks like a spectacle because you have two to three fire trucks, fire department supervisor’s vehicles, two to three ACUPD police cars, and a few Abilene Police Department cars that came to assist,” he said.