Overheated motor causes fire in student center

An overheated motor in the air system of a basement laundry room was the cause of a fire in the Saemann Student Center at approximately 10 p.m. Sunday, said John Myers, director of Campus Security and Safety.

The motor, which controls the damper that regulates the flow of air in the basement, melted a piece of plastic that fell into a laundry basket on top of one of the washers, Myers said. The plastic ignited the towels inside.

Smoke filled the laundry room and hallways in the basement of the student center, but Myers said there is little damage and most of it can be cleaned up. Ventilation was continued Monday morning.

Mary Brecht, a Den worker, contacted security when she noticed a strange smell while at work Sunday evening.

Graham Garner, associate vice president for Marketing and Communication, said security and facility services discovered smoke filling the laundry room, the electricity was turned off and the few people in the building were told to evacuate. The Waverly Fire Department was contacted and arrived shortly.

The towels and laundry basket were taken out of the building by fire fighters and extinguished behind the student center.

There were no injuries and the incident will not affect operations at the Den or Mensa, Garner said.

To read the previous story on the fire, click here.

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