Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Dorm fire quickly quelled

by on March 07, 2014 11:00 AM

Police and firefighters quickly snuffed out a smoky fire Thursday evening in an Indiana University of Pennsylvania residence hall, and the cause of the incident remains under investigation, officials said this morning.

Campus police used fire extinguishers to hold back the flames that broke out in a restroom in a second-floor suite of Ruddock Hall, a four-story dormitory at Maple and South 11th streets, said IUP Security Director Sam Clutter.

[PHOTO: Firefighters responded to Ruddock Hall on the IUP campus Thursday night to help extinguish a fire and to ventilate the building. (Teri Enciso/Gazette photo)]

“The officers came up and attempted to put it out,” Clutter said. “They shot fire extinguishers at it, but the smoke was bad and it backed them out of the room. They made sure no one was in the room, then exited for their safety and let the fire company do their job.”

The Indiana County Emergency Management Agency dispatched the Indiana fire department at 7:04 p.m.

Officials evacuated the building, which houses about 300 students

“The campus police did probably 90 percent of the work to extinguish the fire, until they got pushed back by the smoke,” said Assistant Chief Mike Empfield of the Indiana fire department.

Fire damage was held to the bathroom, which will need to be remodeled, according to Clutter and Empfield.

“A plastic garbage can burned and it put out a lot of smoke,” Empfield said.

IUP police are handling the investigation, and Clutter said he expected to have some findings later today.

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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