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Small fire ignites at Art and Architecture building

Nick Williams/Daily
AAFD firefighters and University Police Officers confer after a fire in the Art and Architecture Building's sculpture studio was extinguished Wednesday. Buy this photo

By Adam Rubenfire, Daily News Editor
and Austen Hufford , Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 28, 2012

A small fire at the Art and Architecture Building on North Campus Wednesday evening caused a building-wide evacuation and damaged a sculpting studio, emergency officials reported.

No injuries were reported and the building was open as of 8 p.m. Classes in the building have resumed today, but the condition of student projects in the kiln at the time of the fire is currently unknown.

Huron Valley Ambulances, Ann Arbor Fire Department fire engines and University Police SUVs responded to the building to evacuate students, faculty and staff and suppress the fire.

AAFD Battalion Chief Robert Vogel confirmed that the fire originated from a kiln inside the sculpture studio. Wax buildup in the kiln was probably to blame, Vogel reported.

He said the AAFD was informed of the fire at about 6:30 p.m, and when firefighters arrived they saw “heavy smoke” emanating from the south side of the building.

“The staff did a great job getting the building empty: students were great leaving the building when the alarm went off. It all went pretty well,” Vogel said.

Vogel said the first firefighters on the scene were from Station 5, which is near the Northwood Apartments on Beal Road near North Campus. They quickly responded and were able to suppresses the fire by 7:04 p.m.

“They were quick, they were really quick. They were here within minutes,” Vogel said.

The walls of the sculpture room and surrounding equipment were damaged by the flames, but the building did not sustain structural damage.

Vogel said the burned kiln was full of student pieces. It is not clear what projects, if any, survived the flames. He added that a fire marshal will now inspect the room to estimate damage and determine if the studio is safe for occupancy.

The University's Emergency Alert System was activated at about 7:00 p.m., advising recipients to stay away from the building. University Police reported that the fire was extinguished at about 7:04 p.m, and there were no injuries.

Art & Design junior Josh Kochis was in a sculpture studio near the one where the fire started. He said smoke started entering his classroom and students were evacuated.

“It never really left the specific area but the flames were like eight feet tall at one point,” he said. “It didn’t seem like it was out of control but obviously the firemen showed up.”


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