There’s a guy meowing in a tree outside of hall Atwater right now. Student in a tree, unknown duration but definitely from 11:30-12. I took the video. I’m thinking this is for social psych. It’s pretty fucking ridiculous
No word on who ze is, how ze got there, how long ze has been stationed, and whether or not this is viral promotion for tomorrow’s tea party with imaginary friends, but we’re grateful for any information you can provide. In the meantime, we’ve dutifully reported the incident to @OverheardAtWes:
“An issue arose when they were repowering the building, and it’s been dealt with,” said Dave Meyer, head of Public Safety.
Characterizing the aggressive response—which brought at least five engines, the fire marshal, police cruisers, and nearly every Public Safety officer on duty to the scene—as an effort to err on the side of caution, Meyer noted that the building will likely be closed overnight.
“We’re being extremely cautious,” he said. “We’re being as methodical as possible.”
As of 4:45 PM, MPD and Middletown Fire Department personnel have left the area, and roads have been reopened to traffic. One white SUV belonging to the Middletown Fire Marshal remains on Lawn Avenue.
Public Safety officers stationed at the entrances to Hall-Atwater are allowing limited access to the building to retrieve personal items, but otherwise the facility has been evacuated until further notice.
[BREAKING] Professor and Middletown Eye blogger Stephen Devoto is reporting that a “senior administration official” described the incident as a response to an equipment malfunction that resulted in a small fire, sending smoke into the building. Devoto also reports that the building will be closed until 7:00 AM on Friday. [5:42 PM]
[UPDATE] A Public Safety announcement confirms the electrical issue and notes that Hall-Atwater will close tonight at 7:00. The building will reopen for limited use at 7:00 tomorrow morning. [6:50 PM]
At the time of posting there are more flashing lights outside of Hall-Atwater, including 4 firetrucks. Apparently there was the smell of smoke (a different smell than before) in Professor Weir’s lab and the fire alarm was pulled and Fire Department was called to be on the safe side (understandably). The building has been evacuated for now.
It sounded unlikely that there was further damage to Hall-Atwater, but it does seem that it will be more difficult to restore power to the remaining sections of the building, and it may be some time before that happens.
I’ll update this post with more details if I find out anything more. Comment if you know anything!
[UPDATE] At this point, at least five fire trucks have been outside of Hall-Atwater for nearly two hours, with four spanning the length of Lawn Avenue and one engine from the South District parked on the Church Street side of the building.
Public Safety and the MPD have set up several roadblocks to prevent traffic from entering the Lawn-Home area. Home Avenue is closed to through vehicular traffic from the corner of Ravine Avenue and Beach Street. A Public Safety officer manning the roadblock could be heard telling drivers that there is “a fire at Hall-Atwater,” while another P-Safe officer stationed outside of Hall-Atwater, on the Church Street side of the building, was unwilling to speculate, saying only that “there was a flare-up” and that the fire department had contained the problem.
As of 4:15 PM, several firefighters could be seen lugging a large, light-blue, cabinet-like container that looked slightly charred out of the building. [Justin, 4:30 PM]
Looks like last night’s fire went a little further than the second floor of Hall-Atwater.
It started in room 124 on the first floor, but traveled to upper floors through the wall – which is presumably why a third-floor window was shattered and had to be boarded up earlier today.
According to the Hartford Courant, the fire started at around 11:40 pm under a ventilation hood in room 124, a chemistry lab. The last person in the lab was a student working on research who left at around 9:30 pm and seems to have followed all the safety procedures in cleaning up, but the exact cause is unclear.
Luckily no chemical hazards were found, but there’s pretty significant fire and water damage to surrounding labs on the first floor.
According to Professor Stephen Devoto (via the Middletown Eye), at least six research labs were damaged or destroyed – it might be awhile before those rooms are reopened.
In the meantime, the professors, students, and lab technicians who work in the affected labs are scrambling to protect their ongoing research projects, many of which are delicate and might suffer from the power outage.
Video footage from Fox 61 News this morning, via the Courant:
[EDIT 8:15 pm]
P-Safe update: says electrical service has been restored to 66% of Hall-Atwater. Selected areas on the west side of the building will be available for limited use tomorrow, and classes originally scheduled for Hall-Atwater are being relocated. Shanklin will reopen tomorrow for full use.
Find out where your relocated classes will be held here.
Public Safety has just sent an all-campus email (and text message) about the fire last night in Hall-Atwater. The fire started in a lab in Room 124 at 11:45 pm last night. Hall Atwater will be closed today while people survey the damage:
A fire occurred at Hall Atwater at approximately 11:45 p.m. Sunday night. The fire appears to have originated in a lab in Room 124, which incurred significant damage to the lab. Some areas adjacent to and surrounding the lab on the first and second floor also received varying degrees of smoke, water and fire damage.
During the fire, two public safety officers, who experienced exposure to fumes while trying to extinguish the blaze, and a Middletown Firefighter, who suffered a chemical burn on his arm, were taken to a hospital for treatment. All were treated and released. One student was also decontaminated for possible chemical exposure as a precautionary measure.
Hall Atwater will be shut down for use today while we evaluate the full extent of the fire, water and smoke damage mentioned. Once this has been surveyed a determination will be made on when to reopen the building.
[Edit, 9:28 am]
A Connecticut Post article here has more details about the fire. Thanks to Noah Gapsis ’10 for the tip.
Flames got into the wall and traveled to the second floor before firefighters brought the fire under control. The lab where the fire originated and the second floor were significantly damaged. There is smoke and water damage to the surrounding rooms and on the second floor, Pesci said.
University officials hope to have power restored to the building by the end of the day, but it is unclear when it will reopen.
From speaking to professors and students who work in research labs, it seems that when they say that some labs were significantly damaged, they mean significantly damaged. More info as it becomes available.
You might have noticed the ten gazillion (well, like, four) firetrucks that are currently on either side of Hall-Atwater (on Church and Lawn). Here are some shitty quality pictures I took on my cell-phone:I spoke briefly to a member of the Middletown Fire Department, and he suggested that there wasn’t any fire, but rather either a water leak or an electrical problem or both. A student who was nearby said that she had tried to get into Hall-Atwater, but the double doors were locked – and water was seeping out. Hopefully everyone is okay.
If anyone has more information, please comment / send it in!
[Edit] Tyler Wuthmann ’11 says:
I was in hall atwater in my lab and I heard a huge bang. Went outside and this pipe had burst but it didnt look like one of the water ones and it smelled weird. It also started leaking all over the halls like in random places. Called Psafe. They said it might be a chemical spill and told HA labs to evacuate. They prolly called the fire-d to just be safe. I dont think it was anything more than a frozen pipe? IDk im from CA. Pipes dont freeze.