Fire evacuates UDS workers at Centennial Hall

Photo: Vadim Lavrusik

Ashley Goetz

Photo: Vadim Lavrusik

A fire in Centennial Hall caused about 15 University Dining Services workers to evacuate and brought a squad of at least seven fire trucks to the scene Monday night. No one was reported to be injured. The fire is believed to have started in the loading dock area near the residence hall’s kitchen, UDS student-manager Andrew Dill said. âÄúAround 9, I could smell something, a bonfire-type smell,âÄù Dill said. Dill and the other 14 or so UDS workers evacuated within 15 minutes and huddled in the lobby of a medical center parking ramp across the street, on Delaware Street Southeast. University Fire Station No. 19 was the first on the scene, a station worker, who declined to give his name, said. He said the station sent between 30 and 35 firefighters, including three fire engines. The fire was described as a small, smoldering lumber pile near the kitchen. A heater, which either overheated or was too close to the lumber, caused the fire, according to a Minneapolis fire report released Thursday. Sarah Crumrine, who lives on the first floor, said she heard alarms around 9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. and her floor was evacuated. However, other students living higher up in the building said they didn’t hear alarms. Cortez Riley, a fourth-floor resident and former front desk worker at the hall, said that’s because the building’s fire alarms are zoned. He said he didn’t know exactly how the zones are configured, but did say the first floor, as well as the sub-basement and basement below, were cleared out. He said most of the second floor and above were kept in their rooms. University of Minnesota spokesman Dan Wolter confirmed in an e-mail that the building has zoned fire alarms and said all University residence halls have the same system. University police also responded to the fire and blocked off local traffic from driving down Delaware and Harvard streets Southeast. Crews began to leave the scene at around 10:25 p.m.

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