Morning fire evacuates Engineering Quadrangle

Staff Photo • Lea Kahn

Firefighters extinguish a blaze at Princeton University’s Engineering Quadrangle early Thursday.

25 March, 1988

Morning fire evacuates Engineering Quadrangle

Some 30 to 40 people were evacuated from Princeton University’s Engineering Quadrangle early Thursday morning after a fire broke out in one of the five wings.

There were no injuries in the fire, and damage was contained to only several rooms in the E wing, according to Princeton Fire Department Chief Richard McKee. The fire broke out in a computer paper storage room at approximately 4:30 a.m., Chief McKee said.

Fire officials determined by Thursday afternoon that the blaze was caused by heated drippings from a welder’s torch.

A laboratory in the building’s E wing is being renovated into offices, said Chief McKee. A welder was in an area adjacent to the paper storage room Wednesday afternoon, cutting galvanized floor decking.

Apparently, “hot beads” or drippings from the welding ran horizon. tally along a steam pipe that led into the paper storage room. said Chief McKee. The drippings fell in among paper in the room, smouldering there until the fire broke out.

Six fire engines responded to the scene by 4:40 a.m., and had extinguished the fire within 15 minutes the chief added.

Although there was no structural damage to the building, there was “extensive” damage to electrical materials,. such as computers and wires, in an adjoining room. The paper materials in the storage room were also entirely destroyed. Chief McKee added.

Asked what people were doing in the building at 4:30 a.m. Chief McKee said the building is used 24 hours per day. “People teach during the day and then do research at night,” he said. Chief McKee is alsc an employee at the university.

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