At roughly 2 p.m. on Friday a small fire broke out on the roof of Rogers Hall, NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s main academic building, while demolition work was being done on the building.
New York City Fire Department was notified and the building was evacuated as a precautionary measure. The fire was extinguished promptly. At around 2:45 p.m., the FDNY announced that the issue was resolved, and reopened the building for use.
In a statement made to WSN via Twitter, NYU Tandon said that no injuries occurred as a result of the accident.
Tandon Director of Marketing and Communications Kathleen Hamilton said that nobody was endangered by the fire.
“The fire was on the roof, rather than anywhere students were studying or working,” Hamilton said in an email. “The building was evacuated and then the students were re-admitted after the all-clear; we sent out the statement on Facebook.”
Hamilton explained that the fire had been set off accidentally by demolition equipment.
“Demolition workers were working with a torch on a cooling tower to cut material that will be hauled away from the roof,” Hamilton said. “This caused the small fire, which was quickly extinguished by the FDNY.”
Hamilton also said that there was no significant damage done to the building.
Rogers Hall was hosting a career fair for students who had been unable to attend the Fall career fair at the time the fire broke out. The fair was cut short by the fire.
Tandon sophomore Abir Hassan said that the fire was inconveniently timed for students such as himself.
“I think it was unfortunate for everyone,” Hassan said. “I had to leave work early, the career fair was cancelled; students and employers at the career fair had to leave too.”
Tandon sophomore Abigail Rhue was in Jasper Kane Dining Hall when a man started yelling at everyone to get up and leave.
“There were no fire alarms, so no one completely knew what happened,” Rhue said. “I left under the impression that it was just a fire drill, and was never actually told there was a fire. As I left, I saw firemen at the elevators making sure no one went in them.”
Rhue said that students gathered in the library because it was one of the few indoor places open to students during this incident.
“I left to go to the library, which had become extremely crowded as that was one of the few warm places people could be in,” Rhue said. “The evacuation was a mystery to, and felt completely unnecessary considering [classes] in the upper floors were not evacuated.”
Other students, like Tandon freshman Anthony Scelza, were unaware any fire had occurred, even hours after FDNY cleared Rogers Hall for use.
“I have been out all day, but I didn’t get an email or anything,” Scelza said. “Nothing was said to me from Public Safety or anything like that.”
Tandon sophomore Singwa Chen said that when she heard the fire alarms go off in Rogers, she thought it was simply a fire drill.
“I thought it was a fire drill like the ones at the dorm,” Chen said. “However, when I saw more and more fire trucks surrounding the building, I knew something serious was up.”
Chen said that she did not receive any notifications from the university about the fire.
“We received no information or updates whatsoever from officials,” Chen said. “Luckily, I was done for the day. Meanwhile others were outside shivering and wondering what was going on.”
Additional reporting by Htoo Min. Email Jemima McEvoy and Natasha Roy at [email protected]