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Squire Hall evacuated for small fire

Butane torch left inside dental student’s locker causes basement fire

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A small fire in the basement of Squire Hall caused an evacuation of the building on Tuesday morning. A still hot butane torch left inside a locker by a dental student started the fire. Buffalo Fire Department arson investigators have ruled the fire an accident.

University Police received a call that the fire alarm had went off from the Buffalo Fire Department at 11 a.m. Another dental student noticed smoke coming from the locker and used a fire extinguisher to put it out.

“We got a call that there was locker on fire in the locker room of the basement,” said Deputy Chief of Police Joshua Sticht. “By the time we got there, a dental student had used a fire extinguisher to put it out … Luckily, someone noticed and took action.”

Sticht said the building had to be evacuated, though, because of the heavy amount of smoke.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Sticht said. “I’ve been to a lot of fires and this tiny little fire made so much smoke we had to evacuate the whole building.”

The building was reopened at 11:34 a.m., but the basement, which includes the locker room, as well as labs, will be closed the rest of Tuesday.

“There’s quite a mess to clean up,” Sticht said.

The butane torch had been used to practice dental reconstruction, according to UPD. Sticht said the student who left it inside the locker likely did not find out about the fire until much later. He also said it is unlikely the student will be held liable for the fire.

“[They’re] not usually liable. Unless the fire started from the person doing something a reasonable person would think you shouldn’t do,” Sticht said. “This is just putting something back in a locker.”

Sticht said none of the lab rooms were affected by the fire.

Tom Dinki is the senior news editors you can reach him at tom.dinki@ubspectrum.com


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