Moped catches fire as McHugh Hall and Student Union evacuated, damage caused to McHugh Hall

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A moped caught on fire outside of Lawrence D. McHugh accross from the Student Union on Nov. 2, 2021. First responders were at the scene. Damage was sustained to the buidling with multiple glass panes being completely shattered. Photo by Kevin Lindstrom.

There was a fire outside the entrance of McHugh Hall Tuesday. The fire was caused by a stationary moped parked outside the building. The moped caught fire around 11:53 a.m. and students evacuated soon after according to the University of Connecticut Fire Marshal and eyewitnesses.  

Jeff Collins is the manager of the Union Street Market and said he had to be evacuated from the Student Union due to the fire. He stated he saw a fire in the corner outside of McHugh Hall. Soon after the fire began a student ran in from outside and pulled the Student Union fire alarm, according to Collins. The Student Union was then evacuated with all staff and employees exiting the building.  

Collins said UConn Fire Department and UConn Police Department arrived at the situation within minutes and had the situation under control shortly thereafter.  

Stephanie Reitz, the spokesperson for the University of Connecticut, stated shortly after the fire began that McHugh Hall did sustain some damage. 

“Some scorching to side of McHugh Bldg. where moped was parked. Clearing smoky small from building now,” said Reitz via statement on Twitter. 

In a subsequent tweet, Reitz also added that the heat from the fire did shatter some windows at the entrance of McHugh Hall, but the fire did not reach inside of the building.  

Captain Steven Garvin is the University of Connecticut Fire Marshal. He said there have been no reported injuries. When asked what the cause of the fire was, he said the matter was still under investigation. When asked when a report should be ready, he stated a report on the fire should be available in the next day or so. 

“The report on the fire should be ready either late tomorrow or early the next day,” said Garvin. 

When asked about the state of the investigation, Garvin clarified that he believes this to be an accident. 

“It looks to be an accident, we do not expect any criminal intent, but we are still investigating,” said Garvin.  

He also added the reason UConn first responders were able to contain the fire so quickly was because of the actions of two students who pulled the fire alarms in McHugh Hall and the Student Union. 

“Two individual students pulled the fire alarms, which alerted the Fire Department and [it] was a great thing to do,” said Garvin.  

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