A small early morning fire Wednesday (Jan. 26) in Albert G. Gulley Hall forced high-level University of Connecticut administrators to find alternative locations to conduct business.
UConn police Maj. Ronald Blicher said a smoke detector alerted the UConn Fire Department about the fire shortly before 6 a.m.
The department quickly responded to the building and immediately noticed a “smoke condition” in the building, he said.
Firefighters then found a small fire in a utility room in the building’s basement and quickly extinguished the fire before it spread to the rest of Gulley Hall.
But smoke “permeated all the floors of the building” and caused damage, forcing public safety officials to close Gulley Hall while crews cleaned the building, Blicher said.
He also said telephone service to the building was affected by the fire.
Gulley Hall is an administrative building and houses the president’s office.
“I think everyone who works in the building can find an alternative place to go,” UConn spokesman Michael Kirk said.
Blicher said employees were allowed to enter the building to retrieve items, though.
Kirk also noted UConn’s board of trustees had a meeting scheduled for Wednesday afternoon inside the Rome Ballroom and said many of the employees temporarily displaced by the fire were already planning to attend the meeting.
Blicher noted Gulley Hall sits at the end of a cul-de-sac and said the location of the building and timing of the fire resulted in only a small disturbance to on-campus traffic.
“(There was) minimal interruption to vehicular traffic and virtually no affect to pedestrian traffic,” he said.
Blicher said some water did flow onto walkways during efforts to extinguish the fire and resulted in icy conditions, so public safety officials had to call for a crew to salt the walkway. He also said UConn’s fire marshal was at Gulley Hall investigating the fire, but had not determined a cause as of this morning.
Blicher said the fire marshal and fire and police officials will work together to determine when Gulley Hall is re-opened for employees.
He said the officials will consider “environmental” factors, including the smell from the smoke damage and utility service when making the decision.
” We’ll take it day-by-day,” Blicher said, adding he was hopeful the building could re-open Thursday.