Spark from Welding Equipment Ignites Small Fire on UMPI Campus
The Presque Isle Fire Department responded to a small fire Tuesday afternoon at a construction area outside Wieden Hall at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
Renovation work is underway at the building and the construction site is surrounded by a chain link fence, according to UMPI Communications Director Rachel Rice.
Officials say a construction crew was welding on the roof of Wieden Hall shortly before 3:00 p.m. when sparks from a welding tool ignited foam insulation. Workers attempted to extinguish the blaze but it spread into a large roll-off dumpster below their work area.
Classes cancelled Tuesday at UMPI due to smoke from burning construction materials
Nearby Folsom and Pullen Halls were safely evacuated after fire alarms sounded and there was no immediate danger to students and staff.
The city’s fire department responded quickly and the fire was fully extinguished as of 4:15 p.m., Rice said. There were no injuries reported.
Due to residual smoke from the fire, classes at UMPI were cancelled for the rest of the day. Rice said buildings on campus have been tested for air quality and are safe to use. Classes will resume on Wednesday as scheduled.
Gil’s Sanitation replaced the roll-off container that was damaged in the blaze. Bowman construction crews were on site early Wednesday morning cleaning up large piles of discarded and charred construction material that had been hosed down and removed from the first bin on Tuesday.
The 4 million dollar renovation project at Wieden Hall will make major improvements to the 28,000 square foot building which houses a gymnasium and auditorium.