Small fire occurs in Austin

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Electrical and water damage was the result of a small fire in an office at the Austin Building Saturday, according to University of Connecticut Deputy Fire Chief Chris Renshaw.  File Photo/The Daily Campus

Electrical and water damage was the result of a small fire in an office at the Austin Building Saturday, according to University of Connecticut Deputy Fire Chief Chris Renshaw. File Photo/The Daily Campus

A small fire occurred in a third floor office at the Philip E. Austin Building on Saturday causing damage to a plugged in electrical appliance, wall outlet, carpet and office floor, University of Connecticut Deputy Fire Chief Chris Renshaw said.  

Renshaw said it looked like the plugged-in electrical appliance was the cause, but an official determination had yet to be reached. 

The room number and occupant of the office had not yet been released. The occupant was not in the building when the fire occurred and officials gave no indication that foul play is suspected or being considered.  

“The fire marshal’s unit as part of the division of public safety, in collaboration with facilities, are working on the investigation and securing the power and utilities to the room,” Renshaw said. 

No injuries were reported and damages were limited due to the quick response of the UConn Fire Department, Renshaw said.  

“[The firefighters] were able to knock the fire down before the sprinkler had tripped in the room which saved the university thousands of dollars worth of damage,” Renshaw said.  

Had the sprinklers went off, damage would have occurred to the office where the fire took place and offices below it, University Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said. 

The building’s fire activation system automatically alerted the Division of Public Safety at about 1:40 p.m., as it does whenever it detects enough heat or smoke, Reitz said. In situations like this, the alarm requires a manual shut off. While there was no word on when the shut off occurred, the alarm could be heard from outside until about 1:56 p.m. 

At one point there were high levels of carbon monoxide and smoke in the building that needed to be cleared out, Renshaw said. Several large fans could be seen being wheeled into the building. 

Most vehicles left the scene at around 3:10 p.m., at which point the building was no longer closed. Damage ended up being limited to only the one office, so classes will likely continue as scheduled on Monday, Reitz said.  


Ryan Murace is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at ryan.murace@uconn.edu

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