Volume 92, Issue 4

Friday, June 5, 1998

george likes his chicken spicy


Sparks fly at Sydenham

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

Sydenham Hall was smokin' hot Tuesday night after a fire broke out on the roof.

University Police Department Inspector Bob Earle said a preliminary investigation of the scene revealed the fire was likely caused by sparks from a roofing project being done nearby. "It wasn't an incident of arson so we wouldn't investigate it further," he said.

He added the campus fire prevention unit is now responsible for investigating the cause of the fire which took 25 minutes to extinguish and caused approximately $25,000 in damages.

London Fire Department deputy fire chief Dave Hodgins said it was very fortunate things went the way they did. "In most cases with those high winds it would have been a two-alarm fire," he said. "The fire was put out quickly – it had to be. There was potential there for a huge loss."

Although there was no construction going on at the time it is likely the fire related to work being done, said Mark Vansteenkiste, fire prevention officer and fire site commander for Western. He added the fire prevention unit and the emergency response team will be looking into the cause.

Susan Grindrod, director of housing and food services, said no one was injured because the building was empty. "It's totally unoccupied – there is a major retrofitting being done to the heating and air handling systems," she said.

Grindrod agreed the construction work was likely the cause of the fire. "The windy weather made it good conditions for a fire," she said.

Students moving into Sydenham in September probably will not be affected. "As far as I understand it the damage isn't that substantial – the repairs will absolutely be done in time for the fall," said David Hamilton, residence manager of the University Drive residences.

Chris Bumbacco, manager of housing services, said because the fire took place in an attic area of the residence so there was no smoke or fire damage to the rooms. "We were lucky – we've invested a fair bit of money in our fire system which is what alerted us quickly," he said.

To Contact The News Department: gazette.news@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998