SIUE’s Morris center evacuated after fire

Students evacuated from the Morris University Center, foreground, watch on Wednesday as Edwardsville Fire Department personnel respond to a fire in a trash compactor.

Bill Tucker | For the Telegraph

EDWARDSVILLE — A small fire near a trash compactor led to an evacuation of the Morris University Center Wednesday afternoon at SIUE.

The Edwardsville Fire Department responded to the call at approximately 1:30 p.m. Edwardsville Fire Chief Rick Welle said the fire was contained during the duration of the incident.

“(The fire was in) the tunnel, which is on the south side of the student center, the university center and the Rendleman building. The fire was actually not in the dumpster – it was outside of the trash compactor, attached to the dumpster. We have an unknown origin on it and that’s being further investigated,” Welle said. “The biggest problem was being in a tunnel, the ventilation system shuts down when the fire alarm system comes in for smoke and spray throughout the buildings. That made it difficult for us to move the smoke out of the tunnel. We were able to get in with some of our electric fans on the inside of the building and actually push the smoke away from the building, through the tunnel and out.”

Students were instructed to evacuate the building due to the excessive smoke in the dining area. Welle said the majority of the smoke was in the dining area on the lower level of the MUC.

“We evacuated the building. The bulk of the smoke inside of the building was in the restaurant area – the dining area of the university center. Madison County Public Health is going to have to come in and make a determination if any or even if all of the food would need to be disposed of, depending on the level of smoke contamination,” Welle said. “When we left, they had been contacted.”

Damage to the MUC building was minimal and no injuries were reported.

An investigation into the origin of the fire is still ongoing.

Welle said the compactor may have been damaged, but even then, it is minimal.

“There was no damage to the building itself. No damage even to the dumpster. There may be some minor damage to the trash compactor. We really didn’t look at it that closely to see if the compactor itself was damaged. If it was, it was minimal,” he said.

Mutual aid was not contacted during the call, but Welle said the department did have the Glen Carbon Fire Protection District on standby in case of another fire incident.

“We did have Glen Carbon standing by at their fire station with an engine in case we had another fire pop up,” Welle said. “We had several ambulance calls through the course of the afternoon, but we managed to handle those as well.”

Students were permitted to re-enter the building at 3:15 p.m. The EFD departed the scene at 3:32 p.m.

.neFileBlock { margin-bottom: 20px; } .neFileBlock p { margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px; } .neFileBlock .neFile { border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa; padding-bottom: 5px; padding-top: 10px; } .neFileBlock .neCaption { font-size: 85%; } Students evacuated from the Morris University Center, foreground, watch on Wednesday as Edwardsville Fire Department personnel respond to a fire in a trash compactor. Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.comments powered by Disqus

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