Sep 272009

An improperly discarded cigarette in a trashcan on the West side of the Lory Student Center caused the evacuation of the building at about 2:20 p.m. Monday.

A spokesperson for Poudre Fire Authority, the agency that responded on scene with about 22 members of its department, said firefighters found the “smoldering trash fire” sitting up against against the LSC near a loading dock.

Smoke from the fire floated into the building’s air take, moving the smell of smoke throughout the vents.

There was no damage reported, the public information officer for PFA Patrick Love told the Collegian as hundreds of people were allowed to re-enter the LSC at 3:24 p.m.

“If someone is going to smoke,” Love said, “Do so in an approved area.”

The trashcan in which the smoldering cigarette was found was situated near what is thought to be an employee entrance, spokesperson for the university Dell Rae Moellenberg said.

CSU has a policy that prohibits people from smoking in all university buildings and within 20 feet of any entrance, passageway, operable window or ventilation system.

“This was clearly a violation,” Moellenberg said.

The university does not yet have any information about how this occurred or who was smoking. They are investigating at this time.

Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Ellis said there are on average about 1000 to 2000 people in the LSC in the afternoons.

Less than an hour after the LSC was evacuated, firefighters told the Collegian that “there is an electrical smell” being circulated through the building’s air vents.

Love, who is also captain of Public Affairs and Education for the department, said the department investigated two to three different areas of the building to find the source of the smell.

He said PFA did not let people into the building to air on the side of caution and maintain safety.

“Life safety is our No. 1 concern in any situation,” he told the Collegian after the incident.

The department was advised to ventilate the LSC’s vent system and “see if the smell comes back,” PFA firefighter Arturo Gallegos, who works at PFA station 1, said.

PFA firefighters were seen checking vents on the West side of the LSC next to the second set of stairs leading to the building.

The LSC was evacuated as a precaution at about 2:20 p.m. due to the “smell of burning wood.”

Members of student government sitting on the rock wall in the LSC Plaza about half an hour after evacuation, said they didn’t smell anything burning.

At about 2:20 p.m. a fire alarm sounded in the LSC, signaling hundreds of people to evacuate the building onto the West Lawn and into the Plaza and beyond.

There were no problems exiting the building at the time of the evacuation, according to Collegian reporters at several locations at the time of the evacuation.

Shortly after, about three fire trucks, an ambulance and members of a couple emergency agencies were seen on the East and West sides of the LSC. Members of the CSU Police Department were on the scene.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Kirsten Silveira, Staff photographer Brandon Iwamoto and Editor-in-chief Virginia Singarayar contributed to this report.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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