Seattle police disperse students at UW bonfire

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by KING5.com and Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on April 6, 2010 at 7:09 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 6 at 12:32 PM

SEATTLE -  A brief power outage in Seattle's University District apparently prompted hundreds of students into the street where they built a bonfire in a neighborhood north of the University of Washington.

"This area was just pitch black. All the street lights were out, all the house lights were out. You couldn't see where you were going," said Casey Smith.

Police spokesman Jeff Kappel says officers responded about 11:30 p.m. Monday, found 15-foot high flames and called firefighters.

"The fire was insane. It was like 40, no, ok. 15 feet tall. We didn't even think it was real when we walked onto Greek Row," said Monminwook Park.

Kappel says the crowd initially refused to disperse. Police called reinforcements who moved the crowd away from the fire so firefighters could put it out.

"No, I don't think it got out of hand. I mean, aside from couches getting burned I guess that can be considered out of hand. But nobody was breaking anything," said Smith. "People were doing UW chants and stuff. But as soon as the police moved in the crowd dispersed."

Kappel says two officers were hit by beer bottles or cans. No one was hurt. No one was arrested. Streets were cleared by 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. Police say no major crime occurred.

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