Category Archives: College/University (on campus)

Coral Gables, FL – Sprinkler system extinguishes fire on university campus; No injuries reported

The Coral Gables Fire Department responded to a blaze on the campus of the University of Miami.

It happened Sunday afternoon after officials said a fire sparked in a science classroom.

According to Coral Gables Fire, the building sprinkler system was able to put out the flames and contain it to its room of origin.

Firefighters said chemicals were involved, so a City of Miami Hazmat team was deployed to monitor air quality as an additional precaution.

Hazmat officials gave an all clear, indicating that the chemicals in the fire were contained and did not spread, and they are no longer present.

No injuries were reported.

Madison, WI – Sprinkler system activated for fire at historic university building

Engine Co. 4 was called to Memorial Union for a fire alarm activation. While on scene, firefighters noticed smoke in the first floor kitchen that was getting thicker. Engine 4 prompted a full structure fire response, summoning multiple additional fire crews to the scene.

Engine Co. 4 located a custodial room where an automatic fire sprinkler had activated. There, firefighters found piles of oily kitchen rags smoldering. Memorial Union staff confirmed there was a bag of wet rags with oil mixed in them stored inside the room. The rags are believed to have spontaneously combusted, resulting in fire that triggered the automatic fire suppression system. Ladder Co. 1 remained on scene with Engine Co. 4 to ventilate the smoke and help overhaul the rags.

The Memorial Union was retrofitted with automatic fire sprinklers in recent years during remodeling projects that took place between 2012 and 2017. Without the presence of automatic sprinklers, this incident may have grown much larger before being noticed, and significant damage could have occurred to this historic building.

Following this incident on August 21, damage was contained to the room of origin and an adjacent office. The Memorial Union was re-opened to the public by 12:30 p.m.

Frankfort, IL – Fire at vacant high school controlled by sprinkler system; No injuries reported

Frankfort Fire Protection District responded Monday to a fire alarm at Lincoln-Way North High School, 19900 S. Harlem Ave. in Frankfort, according to a post Tuesday on the fire district’s Facebook page. No one was inside the vacant high school at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported, according to Frankfort Fire Protection District Chief Sean Fierce.

Frankfort FPD responded to the alarm around 8:17 p.m. and were able to smell a burning odor, Fierce said. Crews located the source of the fire in the basement of the closed high school, which prompted the Fire District to raise the alarm to that of a structure fire to bring in more resources, Fierce said.

Industrial batteries had malfunctioned, and officials said they believe that was what caused the fire, though the official determination is still under investigation. The burning batteries released hydrogen sulfide, which was ventilated before crews put out the fire, Fierce said.

The fire did not spread beyond the basement area where the fire started because the building’s sprinkler system activated, Fierce said.

Frankfort FPD estimated the damage to be approximately $5,000 to $10,000, according to the post.

Fire crews from Tinley Park, Matteson, East Joliet, Elwood, Park Forest, Orland Park, New Lenox and the State Fire Marshal’s Office assisted in the effort to put out the fire, according to the post.

Madison, WI – Fire at university kept under control by sprinkler system until fire crews arrived; No injuries reported

A sprinkler kept an oven fire under control at the UW-Madison Wisconsin Energy Institute on Tuesday until fire crews arrived to put it out, authorities reported.

Fire crews were sent to the building in the 1500 block of University Avenue at 1:20 p.m. and arrived at 1:24 p.m. to find no smoke or fire showing from the five-story building, though people were evacuating, Madison Fire Department spokesperson Cynthia Schuster said in a statement.

A building manager told firefighters there was a fire in an autoclave room, prompting Engine 4 to upgrade the call to a full structure fire response, and additional fire crews were sent, Schuster said.

As the other crews responded, Engine 4 went to the autoclave room, where a fire sprinkler above an oven kept a fire at bay. The oven was open, and a small amount of fire continued to burn inside. Firefighters extinguished that fire with a water can extinguisher, Medic 4 shut down the sprinkler system, and Ladder 1 assisted with ventilation, Schuster said.

The investigation determined that some plastic items that normally are cleaned in an autoclave, but are not oven-safe, were accidentally placed in the oven. Someone working in the lab noticed smoke coming from the room, and when they opened the oven to check on it, incoming oxygen fueled the fire and caused it to flare up. Attempts to put out the fire with a dry chemical extinguisher failed, and the fire alarm was pulled to prompt a building evacuation, Schuster said.

No one was injured, but there was significant damage to the oven and autoclave room, Schuster said.

Escanaba, MI – Sprinkler system activated for fire in college welding building

This afternoon Escanaba Public Safety responded to a fire in Bay College’s welding building.

18 students and two instructors were evacuated safely.

Upon arrival, officers deployed attack lines and entered the building. The automated fire sprinkler system was already on.

It was determined a filter-system from one of the welding machines caught fire.

The building sustained smoke and water damage.

Escanaba Public Safety was assisted by DTE, Escanaba City Electric, and the Delta County Central Dispatch Center.

Provo, UT – FIre inside storage cabinet stopped by fire sprinklers inside BYU campus building

Firefighters responded to a fire in the Ezra Taft Benson building this morning. The fire had already been contained when they arrived.

Public Information Officer Captain Sam Armstrong said Provo Fire and Rescue received a call from BYU at 10:53 a.m. saying hydrogen was on fire.

Armstrong said the department sent firefighters from multiple stations in case of the fire being a catastrophic event. “We would rather be prepared and send everybody than be behind the ball and try and play catch up.”

Armstrong was unable to confirm exactly what it was that had caught on fire, but he said the fire was contained in a storage cabinet that had a fire suppression sprinkler inside it.

When Provo Fire and Rescue arrived, it found the fire suppression sprinkler had already put the fire out. Firefighters then worked with BYU Engineering to help shut down the water system so the water didn’t cause damage.

Amherst, MA – Dorm room sprinkler system bookcase that caught on fire; No injuries reported

At least six University of Massachusetts students have been displaced following a fire that started in their dorm early Friday morning. 

Assistant Fire Chief Lindsay Stromgren said firefighters responded to Maple Hall in the Commonwealth Honors College around 3:30 a.m. for an alarm. Soon after, the department received reports of smoke on the second floor, he said.

Stromgren said the fire started on a wooden bookcase in a student’s bedroom. The young woman woke up to the fire alarm and left the building, and the sprinkler system controlled the fire until firefighters arrived, Stromgren said. 

The entire dorm was evacuated for three hours, except for the second floor, which students were not allowed to re-enter for an even longer period of time due to water mitigation, Stromgren said. Students were brought to the nearby Roots Cafe during the evacuation to keep warm, he said.

At least six people who lived in the suite in which the fire started have been displaced indefinitely, Stromgren said.

“UMass is making arrangements for them,” he said.

Amherst fire investigators and the state fire marshal’s office are investigating the fire, Stromgren said. It is believed the fire was unintentional and accidental, he said, and no one was hurt.

Hanover, NH – Bathroom fire at Dartmouth fraternity contained thanks to fire sprinklers

Local fire departments on Sunday afternoon responded to a fire at Phi Delta Alpha fraternity. The fire was confined to the third-floor bathroom of the fraternity and quickly extinguished, according to Hanover Fire Department captain Michael Gilbert.

The fire tripped a heat sensor on a third-floor sprinkler of the fraternity, leading water to spread and seep to the lower floors of the building. He said that representatives from the College will determine the implications of the damage — namely, if residents will be able to continue to reside in the building.

Associate director of residential operations Bernard Haskell said residents of the building would be rehoused in residence halls until the Hanover Fire Department confirms that the building is safe and the fraternity decides to allow students to return. Phi Delt is taking measures to repair damage done by the fire in order to make the house habitable again, according to Haskell.

“They’re reaching out to contractors now,” Haskell said.

As of press time, Phi Delt president Sean Keough ’20 said that he did not know about the extent and implications of the fire. 

The Hanover, Hartford and Lebanon fire departments all responded to the incident. 

Baton Rouge, LA – Sprinkler system extinguishes fire at LSU baseball stadium

Firefighters were called out to Alex Box Stadium for a fire before 1 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15.

The Baton Rouge Fire Department reported crews received the call about the fire at 12:40 a.m.

Officials said members of the LSU Police Department told responding firefighters there was a fire but the sprinkler system had doused the flames.

According to BRFD, police officers said a cardboard box had been put on top of a dryer and caught fire. The firefighters stayed on scene long enough to make sure the fire was out.

Fire officials added the power was turned off temporarily as a precaution. The laundry room and other nearby areas received water damage from the sprinkler system. Officials estimated the damage to be about $25,000.

No. 11 LSU defeated Indiana, 8-1, just a couple hours before the fire department responded to the fire.

There was no indication the fire would affect Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader between LSU and Indiana.

Anchorage, AK – Fire caused by a malfunctioning switchboard at university stopped by sprinkler system

After a two-week closure of the Administration/Humanities Building due to a fire, the building is now reopened as of Oct. 14.

The Sept. 29 fire started due to electrical malfunctions in the building’s main distribution switchboard. The sprinkler system was triggered by the fire, but there was little water damage to the building and its equipment, according to Deputy Director of Facilities and Campus Services, Ryan Buchholdt.

The cause behind the switchboard malfunction is under investigation. Buchholdt speculated that the age of the equipment may have contributed to the cause of the fire.

“The fire was contained within the main distribution switchboard, resulting in a total power outage until repairs could be completed,” Buchholdt said.

The utility service is connected to the building by the switchboard, which is designed specifically for the Administration/Humanities Building. Replacement parts for the switchboard are not readily available, Buchholdt said, so new parts had to be engineered and others ordered, which took several weeks.

The fire started on a Sunday afternoon, so there was little time to reschedule classes in the building, Buchholdt said. All classes the following Monday, Sept. 30, were canceled by University Leadership. They were relocated to various buildings around campus throughout the rest of the week.

“Fifty-six class sections and approximately 70 faculty and staff had to be temporarily relocated to other places on campus until the building could be reopened,” Buchholdt said.

The relocation was organized by the Office of the Registrar. The Alaska Middle College classes also held in the building were relocated to the UAA/APU Consortium Library.

Lindsey Chadwell, the University Registrar of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, communicated the incident to as many people as possible through social media.

“We worked jointly on messaging with the Office of University Advancement, which sent out broad communications via email, social media and the UAA website alerting the campus community to the building’s closure,” Chadwell said.

In addition to the 56 classes, the offices of the Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services and some members of University Advancement are also located in the Administration/Humanities Building. These offices were relocated to the University Lake Building by Facilities and Campus Services. Smaller units were relocated to the UAA/APU Consortium Library and Professional Studies Building. Staff in the building were also given the opportunity to work from home via computer if they were able to do so.

All main electrical equipment that is similar in age to the switchboard will be inspected by Facilities and Campus Services. Regular inspections will also continue, Buchholdt said.

“In addition to steps that can prevent this sort of incident in the future, our Incident Management Team, which includes representatives from University Police, Facilities and Campus Services, Dean of Students Office and University Advancement, will evaluate the overall response to find ways to improve our emergency practices,” Buchholdt said.

For more information on the Administration/Humanities Building fire and equipment inspections, contact Facilities and Campus Services through its page on the UAA website.