Bathroom Fire At W&L Could Have Been Worse

Bathroom Fire At W&L Could Have Been Worse
Bathroom Fire At W&L Could Have Been Worse

Bathroom Fire At W&L Could Have Been Worse

Sprinkler System Kept Nighttime Fire From Growing

A nighttime electrical fire in an academic building on Washington and Lee University’s campus last week was quickly contained by the building’s fire suppression system, and extinguished by the Lexington Fire Department.

“At approximately 1:15 am on Thursday, April 25, a small electrical fire occurred in a third-floor bathroom in Reid Hall, which was unoccupied at the time,” said Drewry Sackett, university spokesperson.

Reid Hall is home to the university’s journalism and mass communication departments.

“The sprinkler system was activated, the fire department responded, and the fire was extinguished quickly,” she told The News-Gazette.

Dispatched around 1:15 am, Lexington fire crews put out the fire and turned off the sprinkler system to limit water damage to the building.

The fire was declared under control at 2:05 am, although firefighters remained on the scene until 3:40 am to monitor and help control water damage.

Lexington Fire Chief Ty Dickerson said the building’s fire suppression system prevented what could have been significant damage to the building.

“It is very fortunate that the building had a fire sprinkler system. That single fire sprinkler head was activated by the heat from the fire in the light fixture and was contained prior to the fire department’s arrival,” he said.

“The fire alarm connected to the fire sprinkler system activated and notified a monitoring company who notified our regional 911 center who dispatched the Lexington Fire Department,” Dickerson said.

“Without that fire sprinkler and alarm system, a fire in an unoccupied building in the middle of the night could have grown very large before being noticed,” he said.

Sackett said that the building was reopened in time to welcome students back from spring break.

“The building sustained water damage and was closed briefly for repairs,” she said.

“It reopened over the weekend, in time for Monday morning classes, and is fully operational at this time, except for the third-floor bathroom where the fire originated.”

THIS PHOTO of the light fixture in a third-floor bathroom in Reid Hall where the fire started shows the extent of the fire damage. (photo courtesy of Lexington Fire Department)

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