Princeton Weekly Bulletin
7 April 1980
Minor damage results from New South fire
A small fire in insulation surrounding a light fixture delayed opening of New South Building on Friday morning,
The fire, which was quickly contained by the Princeton Borough Fire Department, started in the ceiling of the ground-level plaza surrounding the front entrance to New South. The cause of the fire could not be absolutely determined, according to Michael E. McKay, director of engineering and construction, although the culprit may have been faulty wiring in one of the approximately 20 floodlamps recessed into the ceiling.
Since the fire, the heat shields surrounding the fixtures have been enlarged, said McKay, and all the fixtures will be tested before the lamps go back into use. Insulation had been blown into the ceiling earlier this winter.
Director of Security Jerrold L. Witsil gave the following account of events: Custodian Ronald Oliver smelled smoke at about 6:00 a.m. and notified the proctors, who informed the Princeton Borough Fire Department and began an inspection of the building. The source of the smoke was discovered about an hour later, when the floodlamp exploded. Firemen immediately doused the few flames and removed the smoldering insulation from around the lamp.
Cleanup and security operations delayed opening of the building until 9:05 am.