In the early hours of Saturday morning, a fire alarm was triggered in the basement of Hoffman. Fire trucks were called and responded promptly, students were emailed about the incident later on in the morning and seemingly life continues to move on. There may, however, be some changes coming to the operations of Messiah’s Hoffman building as a result.
A year ago, a similar fire was started in the basement of Hoffman in the early hours of the morning. While it may seem like a simple coincidence, Department of Safety officer Cindy Burger indicated that these two events will force changes in the near future.
“Laundry services will be moving out of Hoffman permanently,” Burger said. “They are currently operating out of another location on campus until the new laundry area is completed.”
This raises the obvious question then of what the cause of these fires in the first place was. Burger mostly attributes the most recent fire to a lack of air circulation in the basement of Hoffman.
“Lack of ventilation was mentioned by the Fire Marshall as feeding this fire in this location,” Burger said.
As a result of the latest fire, Hoffman has had to make some immediate changes.
“The laundry area in Hoffman has been closed,” she said. “The entire building was ventilated with fans and the opening of windows once the building was deemed safe enough to enter.”
Burger did also mention however that for this particular fire, the Fire Marshall identified specific rags that started the event.
“Dining room aprons and cleaning rags laying in hampers were the cause of the fire. With the splattered oil/grease on the aprons worn by Dining Service employees, coupled with cleaning rags containing cleaning agents, the Fire Marshall determined that there was some combustion that occurred,” Burger said.
As indicated in the mass email that went out to all Messiah students on Saturday, the damage to Hoffman was limited to smoke and soot.
Burger said, “The soot and damage to the building was contained to the laundry area only; no other area within Hoffman was damaged.”
Being that this was the second fire within a year at Hoffman, one may begin to wonder if the laundry room in Hoffman was ever suitable for daily use. Burger never indicated that the basement of Hoffman was unsafe to use in the past year.
The fact that laundry services are making a permanent move does show that the University seems to think that a change is in order. What has not been said is where the new laundry room will be located. Burger simply stated that the operations would be moving permanently but did not indicate where.
What is clear, however, is the fact that Messiah University and the local authorities swiftly and promptly took care of the issue the past weekend. All parties seem to be very confident that there will be no further incidents in the future.