Category Archives: College/University (on campus)

Lexington, VA – Sprinkler system activated for overnight fire on university campus

Sprinkler System Kept Nighttime Fire From Growing

A nighttime electrical fire in an academic building on Washington and Lee University’s campus last week was quickly contained by the building’s fire suppression system, and extinguished by the Lexington Fire Department.

“At approximately 1:15 a.m. on Thursday, April 25, a small electrical fire occurred in a third-floor bathroom in Reid Hall, which was unoccupied at the time,” said Drewry Sackett, university spokesperson.

Reid Hall is home to the university’s journalism and mass communication departments.

“The sprinkler system was activated, the fire department responded, and the fire was extinguished quickly,” she told The News-Gazette.

Dispatched around 1:15 a.m., Lexington fire crews put out the fire and turned off the sprinkler system to limit water damage to the building.

The fire was declared under control at 2:05 a.m., though firefighters remained on the scene until 3:40 a.m. to monitor and help control water damage.

Lexington Fire Chief Ty Dickerson said that the building’s fire suppression system prevented what could have been significant damage to the building.

“It is very fortunate that the building had a fire sprinkler system. That single fire sprinkler head was activated by the heat from the fire in the light fixture and was contained prior to the fire department’s arrival,” he said.

“The fire alarm connected to the fire sprinkler system activated and notified a monitoring company who notified our regional 911 center who dispatched the Lexington Fire Department,” said Dickerson.

“Without that fire sprinkler and alarm system, a fire in an unoccupied building in the middle of the night could have grown very large before being noticed,” he said.

Sackett said that the building was reopened in time to welcome students back from spring break.

“The building sustained water damage and was closed briefly for repairs,” she said.

“It reopened over the weekend, in time for Monday morning classes, and is fully operational at this time, except for the third-floor bathroom where the fire originated.”

Portland, ME – Sprinkler system activated for fire at community college

A fire broke out early Friday morning at Southern Maine Community College, but the South Portland Fire Department says a sprinkler system prevented major damage.

Fire crews responded to SMCC just after midnight following an alert from the campus fire alarm system.

They found the college’s automatic sprinkler system had activated, containing the flames in the SeaWolves Café, the department posted on Facebook. The fire did not extend beyond the initially ignited contents.

Without the automatic activation of the sprinklers, South Portland Fire Chief Phil Selberg said damage to the building could have been substantial.

“This fire occurred in the middle of the night when no one was in the building to discover it,” he said in a statement. “The sprinkler system worked as it was designed and saved the Campus Center.”

Due to the location of the campus, the Cape Elizabeth Fire Department automatically responded. The cause of the fire was found to be accidental, but more details were not released.

Madison, WI – Sprinkler system activated for fire on university campus

The Madison Fire Department reported an automatic sprinkler prevented further damage to a building on UW-Madison’s campus overnight.

Spokesperson Cynthia Schuster said firefighters were dispatched to 30 East Campus Mall at 12:33 a.m. for a fire alarm activation. Schuster said no one was around to report the fire to 911.

Upon arrival, firefighters were met by members of the UW-Madison Police Department and UW Security.

The crew entered the building and noticed an odor of smoke. The odor was followed to a wood workshop, where the crew found the room full of smoke and an automatic fire sprinkler activated.

Beneath the active sprinkler was a burned-up garbage can and its contents on the floor. Just one sprinkler head activated, but it extinguished the fire and prevented the fire from spreading, according to Schuster.

Damage from the fire is estimated at about $2,000. Damage was contained to some paint cans, a portable electric sander, cabinets and other items.

Firefighters moved the burned items outside, ventilated the area, and turned off the fire sprinkler system.

With the sprinkler systems temporarily shut down, UW Security provided fire watch until a responsible party returned to the building.

Auburn, NY – Sprinkler system extinguishes stovetop fire at community college; No injuries reported

A minor fire, ignited by food on a stovetop, led to the displacement of several Lattimore Hall residents on Saturday, according to the Auburn Fire Department.

The incident, which occurred at the independent student housing complex for Cayuga Community College, was reported at approximately 4:47 p.m.

Officials said the dormitory’s sprinkler system quickly extinguished the fire before firefighters reached the scene.

However, the resulting water damage prompted the Auburn Code Enforcement Office to condemn the affected third-floor unit and the units directly beneath it on the first and second floors.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

Lattimore Hall’s management is currently arranging alternate accommodations for the displaced students, and the fire department has taken measures to manage the aftermath of the incident, including shutting down the third floor’s sprinkler system and ventilating the smoke. Auburn City Ambulance was also present on-site.

Gorham, ME – Sprinkler system activated for fire caused by vape pen; No injuries reported

A lithium battery from a vape pen caused a fire inside a trash can at the Gorham Campus of the University of Southern Maine Monday.

In a letter to students, USM’s President says the sprinkler system at the Upton/Hastings residence hall kept the fire from spreading. However, water damage forced 23 students living there to be relocated.

No one was injured in the fire that started on the third floor of Upton/Hastings around 2 p.m. Because the fire was a state academic building, the fire was investigated by the state fire marshal’s office.

The president’s office reminds students that USM is a smoke & vape free campus.

Lithium batteries can cause fires if the battery is damaged. The smoke and fumes from a lithium battery fire can be fatal.

Erie, PA – Sprinkler system contains dryer fire at Great Lakes Institute of Technology

It was reported around 12:30 a.m. Thursday at 5100 Peach St.

Firefighters found heavy smoke throughout the building, which was unoccupied at the time, officials said.

A fire sprinkler system contained the fire within the room, but the building suffered extensive smoke and water damage, according tot he department.

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.