Greencastle, IN – Fire in new dining hall building at DePauw University suppressed by sprinkler system

A small fire early Saturday morning at Hoover Hall on the DePauw University campus occurred in a storage room on the lower level of the new dining hall in the center of campus.  The fire was extinguished very quickly, DePauw officials said.  The fire began at about 5:45 a.m. while no one was in the building but the safety system did its job, DPU spokesman Ken Owen told the Banner Graphic.

Two sprinklers put out the bulk of the fire, he said, and a fire extinguisher was used once the Greencastle Fire Department arrived on the scene to fully put it out. No fire hoses were necessary in the incident.  No damage estimate was available Saturday morning, however, damage was deemed “minimal” by DePauw officials.

The fire created smoke and there was water left by the sprinklers, necessitating clean-up and the closing of the dining hall at least for Saturday breakfast. The sprinkler system must be recharged, Owen said.  Because of that clean-up work, along with the need for the fire marshal to do his work to determine the cause of the fire, breakfast was not being served at Hoover but instead breakfast items were available at the convenience store in the Union Building.

At 10 a.m., the Health Department gave DePauw clearance to reopen Hoover Hall. The plan at that time was to open Hoover Hall with a limited menu at noon Saturday.

“All of us — the DePauw administration and our friends from the fire department and public safety — thank you and all students for their patience and understanding as we proceed today,” Owen said in a statement for the university. “I can’t say enough about the good work many people have performed in the early hours of a Saturday to make the process of recovering from this incident as quick and seamless as possible.”

Hoover Hall is the DePauw’s new 48,600 square-foot dining hall which sits in the shadow of historic East College in the center of campus. It was formally dedicated last October.  The $32 million project took 29 months to complete after ground was broken on May 17, 2014. The lead gift came from R. David and Suzanne A. Hoover, both 1967 graduates of DePauw.

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