A small fire disrupted lunch service in the Student Center early Wednesday afternoon.
The fire broke out shortly after 11:45 a.m. in the World’s Fare area of the food court. Employee Ming Hu was preparing for the lunchtime crowd when the grease he was working with ignited. A standard water sprinkler deployed, causing the grease to splatter up a wall.
The splattered grease burned for a short time.
A system designed to extinguish grease fires put out the blaze in the food service area, but a sign did catch fire.
A chef used a nearby fire extinguisher to put out the burning sign.
Firefighters from Engine 27 responded within 15 minutes, but the fire had already been taken care of by Sodexho Food Service employees.
“It’s probably the most orderly I’ve ever seen them go through a fire alarm,” Sodexho District Manager Ken Rosier said. “Once they saw flame, everyone was out. It was very well done. I was actually very pleased.”
While fire damage to the food court was minimal, portions of the Student Bookstore received water damage. Water from the sprinkler system in the food court seeped down through the floors, soaking ceiling tiles, light fixtures and merchandise in the bookstore.
“Some quick thinking by some employees saved us some books,” Manager Chris Phillips said. “[It came down] like a waterfall.”
According to Phillips anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 in damage occurred to the bookstore, but a solid estimate will not be available until insurance claim officers can survey the scene.
Workers from Temple Facilities Management quickly cleaned up the flooded areas and replaced soaked ceiling tiles.
The food court was closed for two hours while the sprinkler system was reset. World’s Fare remained closed until lunch time Thursday. The bookstore opened Thursday as scheduled, but with limited service.
Lucas K. Murray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.