Smoke causes Union evacuation, police say no fire

Smoke from a vent in the courtyard lounge on the second floor of the Student Union caused the building to be evacuated at approximately 1:15 a.m. on Tuesday, April 29.

Several emergency response vehicles, including those from the University Police, Setauket Fire Department and Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps., arrived at the scene around 1:30 a.m. as small groups of evacuated students huddled around the front and back entrances to the Union.

A group of students who did not identify themselves and

Emergency response vehicles stationed around the traffic circle by the Student Union bus stop. (JESUS PICHARDO/THE STATESMAN)

Emergency response vehicles stationed around the traffic circle by the Student Union bus stop. (JESUS PICHARDO/THE STATESMAN)

were in the courtyard lounge at the time of the incident said they noticed the smoke coming out the of the vent. They first thought one of their device chargers was the cause, but when they looked underneath the vent they saw a small fire. A female student that was in the lounge at the time pulled the fire alarm.

Tuesday, April 29, 1:52 p.m.:  Assistant Chief of University Police Eric Olsen emailed The Statesman a statement regarding the situation.

“Early this morning University Police Officers and Fire Marshals responded to the Student Union for a report of smoke,” Olsen said. “Upon arrival Officers observed a smoke condition and began evacuating the building while Fire Marshals investigated the cause of the smoke. The cause of the smoke was determined to be a malfunction of the ventilation (HVAC) system in the building and not a fire. No persons were injured and Campus Operations and Maintenance personnel were contacted to correct the issue.”

Around 3:13 a.m., all of the emergency response vehicles cleared out of the area, leaving their posts by the Student Union bus stop and in the stadium parking lot. Two fire officers packing up to leave said they had no comment on the situation. Around the same time, a Stony Brook Facilities and Services vehicle arrived. An electrician heading into the building said he would receive orders on how to proceed from the fire marshal.

At approximately 3:03 a.m., a Union building official said Campus Dining employees were allowed back into the building to shut down any running equipment. He also said the incident was not caused by anything in the dining facilities on the first floor, but that he was unsure of the exact cause.

At approximately 2:32 a.m., a university police officer told The Statesman that UPD was unsure of the cause of the smoke.  Around the same time, Setauket fire officers were connecting a hose to a hydrant across the street from the main entrance of the Union. The hydrant was not utilized.

At approximately 2:08 a.m., a fire police officer at the scene told The Statesman that the emergency responders heading into the building were looking for the electrical room inside the Union.

 

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