Electrical Fire Extinguished By Student In Pollock Computer Lab
A small electrical fire forced the evacuation of a near-capacity Pollock computer lab on Thursday night and was quickly extinguished by a fast-acting student.
Onward State was notified of the fire by an eyewitness through a tweet sent to our main account.
According to eyewitness accounts from two ITS employees, a loud “pop” was heard from a row of computers, and visible flames and smoke began to emerge from underneath the desk in the front of the room. A student quickly grabbed the fire extinguisher and put out the flames while another student pulled the fire alarm to force the evacuation of the building. Penn State police and Alpha Fire Co. responded to the scene, but the flames had already been extinguished. According to Penn State police, the cause of the fire was a malfunctioning electrical outlet. Police reported that the fire started at 11:50 p.m.
A maintenance employee was called in to clean up the soot and ash left behind by the fire. No estimate of the damages was available at the time, but there were no visible burn marks and at least one of the computers near the flame was in working order. No injuries were reported.
Caitlin, a ITS employee who was in the lab when the fire started, said students were waiting outside for 28 minutes before police arrived and deemed the building safe to re-enter. Just over a half hour after the initial fire started, students were back inside in the lab using the computers as if nothing happened. One student was even surprised to learn that a fire broke out.
“I’m just thankful we didn’t go up in flames,” Caitlin said.
In the meantime, the Pollock Building is completely operational (aside from one faulty plug), including the testing center on the first floor. If you were hoping to have your Friday exam canceled, well, too bad.