The Daily Californian Online

Fifth floor fire breaks out at Haas School of Business

By Allie Bidwell and Sara Johnson
Daily Cal Senior Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Category: News > City > Crime

A fire broke out early this morning at the Haas School of Business - located on the east side of UC Berkeley's campus near Memorial Stadium - leaving parts of three floors closed for clean-up and damage assessment.

According to UCPD spokesperson Lt. Alex Yao, the fire was reported at 6:05 a.m. and originated from a paper shredder in the mail room on the fifth floor. He said there were no injuries reported.

Yao said UCPD officers arrived on scene within three minutes of the call, and Berkeley Fire Department arrived at 6:14 a.m. The fire was declared extinguished at 6:31 a.m., according to Yao. The fire set off the school's sprinkler system.

At this point, there is no indication that foul play was involved, Yao said. He added that the UC Fire Marshal would make the final determination about the cause of the fire. The fire marshal could not be reached for immediate comment.

Ute Frey, associate director of marketing and communications at the business school, said employees were asked to either work from home or elsewhere in the school, but classes are continuing as scheduled. A news update posted on the school's website advised staff who normally work in the building to temporarily meet in the Bank of America Forum on the second floor of the school's Faculty Building.

Currently, parts of the third, fourth and fifth floors of the Student Services Building are still closed. The news update said that besides water damage and smoke odor, the damage is confined to the shredding machine.

The Thomas J. Long Business and Economics Library on the third floor was closed Wednesday and will reopen Thursday, but the computer and recruitment centers are both open. The Dean's Suite is also open, according to Frey.

An email sent out to the Haas community at 7:55 a.m. today stated some ceiling tiles had "extensive damage" and some carpets, computers and printers are "soaked."

Emily Ewell, a graduate student at Haas, relocated to the Boalt Hall library to work on Wednesday.

"Fortunately the school has been incredibly communicative about the incident to ensure the safety of students and staff at Haas," Ewell said in an email. "(The) only impact to me is that we had a few meetings moved and some of our other rooms are more crowded than usual."

According to Frey, the remaining offices are scheduled to begin reopening next week.

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