On Saturday, June 29, at around 2 pm, as many students were off for the weekend basking in the sun and enjoying a rare weekend without rain, a fire occurred in the corridor walkway between C and D buildings.The fire started while an equipment operator was executing a routine refueling operation of a pressure washer and involved a powered utility cart. At the time of the incident, the operator had been cleaning the bricks in the courtyard between C and D Building to reduce buildup that puts students at risk of slipping and injury.
A witness at the scene immediately contacted 911 Emergency Services, signaled the campus emergency alarm, and alerted Public Safety Officers who immediately proceeded to evacuate the building.
A unit of the Bellevue Fire Department was located at the nearby soccer fields when they observed the smoke column. They were able to respond immediately and were able to quickly extinguish the fire. The cause of the fire has been found to be accidental.
A Bellevue College employee was treated for burns by paramedics at the scene and released.
“[The Bellevue Fire Department] investigated and determined the fire was ‘unintentional’,” said Director of Public Safety Tommy Vu.
The fire resulted in heat and smoke damage to the ceiling tiles and wiring over the walkway but did not spread into the interior of C Building.
The Bellevue Fire Department has cleared C building for occupancy with no restrictions, and there has been no impact to campus services. Maintenance crews have begun repairs to the affected areas and are expected to be finished in the coming week.
Following a quick response from the Campus Ops Emergency Crew, Electrical, Gas and HVAC (heating,
ventilation, and air conditioning) systems were restored by Saturday evening with the exception of areas that were affected. The emergency alarm system remains fully operational.
“This is a good opportunity to remind everyone that you must evacuate the building whenever the alarm sounds,” said Vu. “Even if there is no obvious hazard, toxic fumes and carcinogens can be circulated through the building. If you become a victim because you failed to evacuate or are believed to be missing then the firefighters must risk their lives to come find you.”
Evacuation routes and assembly points are posted throughout the campus for students to review.
“Our priority is always life safety and accountability,” said Vu. “If you do evacuate a building be certain to assist each other and assure that everyone has been accounted for or their location known.”