Tuesday, Jan. 14 at approximately 7:29 p.m. a small fire occurred and was promptly extinguished in the Integrated Science Center. According to the College’s Emergency Management Team, the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation. The College’s police department, the Williamsburg Fire Department and the York County and Newport News Hazmat Material Response Team units all responded to the incident.
“ISC 1 is all clear this morning except for room 2070 following a small fire in there last evening,” the Emergency Management Team wrote in an email to the College community., “The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Though there was minor damage [to] the lab space, we are thankful no one was injured.”
Emergency Management Team Co-Chairs Ginger Ambler and Deb Cheesebro sent two emails. The first email came at 10:14 p.m. Tuesday night, notifying the community that the fire had been extinguished, but to avoid the area as College Environmental Health and Safety and the York County and Newport News hazmat teams evaluated the safety of the building. The Emergency Management Team followed up with the second email at 9:58 a.m. on Wednesday Jan. 15 notifying the community that the area was all clear for normal activity.
“We are grateful for the quick thinking and responsiveness of building occupants last night as well as the work of WMPD, the Williamsburg Fire Department, and the York County and Newport News Hazmat units,” the Emergency Management Team wrote in the email.
Chemistry major Cody Funk ’23 was participating in a mentor program ice cream social event in the common area next to the lab where the incident occurred. He said Douglas D. Young, Cornelia Brackenridge Talbot Term Distinguished Associate Professor of Chemistry, responded immediately to the incident as emergency personnel made their way to the Integrated Science Center.
“Being a synthetic chemistry lab, a fire posed a serious risk and I knew that as soon as I heard the boom and saw the flames,” Funk wrote to The Flat Hat. “Thankfully, Dr. Doug Young was prepared and took immediate steps to ensure the safety of all students. He led our initial response and was a shining example of what calm and calculated emergency response looks like.”