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Fire closes SU buildings Wednesday

By Staff | Nov 18, 2011

Firefighters use a chainsaw to cut into the bleachers at the Butcher Center at Shepherd University Wednesday to see what caused the fire in the gymnasium. (Photo courtesy of Don Zumbach)

Area fire departments evacuated the Shepherd University Butcher and Wellness centers Wednesday afternoon after two alarms sounded due to a small bleacher fire in the Butcher Center gymnasium.

According to Danny Thomas, safety officer with the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department, a fire began around the motor and wire area of the retractable bleachers. He said it appeared electrical in nature.

Thomas said according to Shepherd officials, damage estimates are in the range of $10,000.

Eleven departments responded to the scene at approximately 3 p.m., just after the first alarm sounded at 2:56 p.m.

Thomas said firefighters had to manually pull out the bleachers to get to the root of the problem.

According to Valerie Owens, executive director of University Communications, the Butcher and Wellness centers were closed for the remainder of the day. The basketball double-header scheduled for Wednesday evening was also canceled and fire crews stayed on the scene to be sure no hazard remained.

– From staff reports