PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Police Say Penn State Student Damaged And Caused Evacuation Of Residence Hall

A Penn State student is facing felony and misdemeanor charges after he allegedly vandalized and caused the evacuation of a University Park residence hall.

At 4:10 a.m. on Saturday, Penn State police responded to a fire alarm at Hiester Hall and found that the 250-resident dorm had been evacuated. Inside, the eighth floor had sustained “substantial damage,” according to a criminal complaint.

Police observed that the floor and surfaces were covered with fire extinguisher powder. One fire extinguisher was found on the floor and another on the roof. A third — as seen on video surveillance, according to police — was thrown from the eighth floor onto the sidewalk in front of the main entrance. Police said the area has foot traffic at all hours and a fire extinguisher thrown from the eighth floor “could have struck and severely injured or killed a person.”

Discharging a fire extinguisher set off the alarm, police said

Five large windows were broken, with broken glass on the floor, according to the complaint. Other damage allegedly included: a broken door handle; a damaged wooden closet door; an illuminated exit sign ripped from the ceiling; broken glass insets on two doors; metal heating elements ripped out of their housing on a stove, with blood smeared on the stovetop and walls; and a damaged maintenance hatch lock.

Zachary E. Blume, 20, of Hebron, Conn., was seen on video concealing one of the fire extinguishers in a pillow case, according to police. He was allegedly identified by two people in Hiester Hall.

Police contacted Blume at his residence and he allegedly “made a spontaneous statement about damaging property,” then provided a written statement admitting guilt.

Blume was charged with third-degree felony counts of criminal mischief, institutional vandalism and risking a catastrophe, as well as misdemeanor counts of possession of an instrument of crime, false alarm to a public safety agency, recklessly endangering another person, tampering with fire apparatus and disorderly conduct.

He was arraigned before District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker, who set straight monetary bail at $50,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 17.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Geoff Rushton (

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.


State College Named Pennsylvania’s Best College Town In Ranking named the best college town in each state based on categories like cost of living, student employment, and night life.

Clouds Lift For Payton Linnehan, Penn State Women’s Soccer Against Michigan State

After several weeks of near-misses, Payton Linnehan’s first collegiate goal helped the Nittany Lions break a three-game losing streak.

Send this to a friend