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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    FCS fire empties classes

    UA police and fire personnel discuss safety concerns after an overheated motor was found to be the source of smoke in the Family and Consumer Sciences building around 11 a.m. yesterday. Students and teachers were evacuated from the building for about an hour.
    UA police and fire personnel discuss safety concerns after an overheated motor was found to be the source of smoke in the Family and Consumer Sciences building around 11 a.m. yesterday. Students and teachers were evacuated from the building for about an hour.

    A fire started by an overheated motor in the Family and Consumer Sciences building yesterday afternoon resulted in the evacuation of students and faculty for almost an hour.

    The fire started around 11 a.m. in a vent above Room 302 after a switch activating an older cooling system was pulled, causing a motor to overheat and ignite a nearby air filter. The cooling system is normally unused because air conditioning is installed in the building, said Capt. Tim Cornely, battalion chief for the Tucson Fire Department.

    “”Smoke was coming out of a vent in Room 302 and someone activated the fire alarm,”” Cornely said. “”It took us a while to find the source of the fire, and we had to evacuate the building and turn off the power.””

    There were no injuries, he said.

    Julie Nelson, a research specialist who manages a bacteria lab in FCS 302, said her manager called the fire department when her lab began filling with smoke.

    The fire did not spread past the vent, and Nelson said she does not think any harm was caused to the experiments within the lab.

    “”If we were without power overnight, we may have some problems,”” Nelson added. “”But since we only lost power for about an hour, none of our work could get ruined.””

    Pat Sparks, a lecturer who teaches nutritional sciences 358 in FCS 202, said she did not know whether or not to cancel her class, which normally meets at 11 a.m., because of the delay. The class stood outside FCS during the evacuation.

    “”I have a group that is doing a presentation today,”” Sparks said. “”This is not looking good at all.””

    Amad Johnson, a nutritional sciences senior and a student in Sparks’ class, said he was waiting for class to begin when a police officer came in and asked him to evacuate.

    “”I thought it was a bomb threat,”” Johnson said. “”But then I overheard an officer saying that he saw smoke in the building.””

    Variatee Montgomery, a nutritional science senior also in Sparks’ class, said when police asked her to evacuate, she was scared.

    “”I saw firefighters putting on oxygen masks and carrying their axes, and no one was telling us what was going on,”” Montgomery said.

    About 20 firefighters were deployed to the scene around 11 a.m., Cornely said.

    “”It was a full alarm and we have three engines, a ladder and a medic here on site,”” he added.

    Room 302 should be operational tomorrow, said Chris Kopach, associate director of Facilities Management.

    The motor was not supposed to be turned on and is no longer operational, Kopach said. Within the next few days, Facilities Management will be pulling the entire unit that controls the cooling unit off the wall, he said.

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