Many of you have probably heard that we had a fire in the Engineering Innovation Studio last week. The good news is that no one was hurt and the damage was contained. A fire started in the bed of the laser cutter that operates in the welding room and was cutting plastic at the time. The alarms went off, the sprinkler above the machine kicked in and the student employees in the studio responded properly and efficiently. After an attempt to put out the fire themselves (3 extinguishers worth), they vacated the building. The fire department arrived, quickly stopped the fire, and turned off the sprinkler. The state fire marshal is investigating, but it seems that the scrap material collected under the cutting bed of the machine caught fire.
I wanted to take a minute to express my gratitude to Griff Allen, Paul Robertson, Jon Scaggs, and the entire staff involved with the studio. It is clear that the people in the studio that day were well trained and well prepared and their actions prevented this incident from becoming something much worse. In particular, I want to call out the actions of Jessica Lambert, one of our own students, who was the shop supervisor on duty at the time. Between the excellent training and her ability to keep a cool head in a crisis, it appears we’ve only lost one piece of equipment. It could have been so much worse.
Thanks again for all you do to help keep our students safe.
John Gardner, Ph.D., P.E.
MBE Department Chair
* Special thanks to Isaiah Christie and the other students who pitched in to keep this fire in check.