Three small fires were reportedly set in Gasson Hall and Stokes Hall on Saturday night, according to a press release from the Office of News and Public Affairs.
“No one was injured, but the North wing of the fourth floor of Stokes Hall sustained smoke and water damage caused by the fire and the activated sprinkler system,” the release read.
At 2:10 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 10, the BC community received an emergency alert.
“Small fires have been reported on campus in Gasson and Stokes,” the alert read. “BCPD and Newton Fire are investigating … If an alarm should sound, evacuate the building immediately and follow the directions of the public safety staff.” Recipients were also urged to report any relevant information or suspicious activity to BCPD.
According to the press release, BCPD Chief and Director of Public Safety John King described the fires as suspicious.
“The cause of the fire remains under investigation,” the release read. “King added that BCPD and/or Newton Fire officials will remain in the building until the fire alarm system is reactivated.”
The professional cleaning firm Pro Care arrived on site Sunday in order to clean soot from the walls on the fourth floor of Stokes North and to clean books that were damaged by the sprinkler system. Damaged equipment and cubicle walls were also being removed from the building and loaded into a Piece by Piece Movers truck.
Several offices in Stokes North will be closed for renovations, and classes held in the two classrooms on the fourth floor will be relocated to Carney Hall for the time being.
Terence Leahy, director of engineering and energy management in Facilities Management, said that the graduate student area 420 A-D in Stokes Hall sustained the most significant damage. “Books and belongings from the area were relocated to More Hall where they will be cleaned during the next several days,” the press release read. “All occupants of Stokes Hall [can] access their offices on Monday, but several offices in the affected areas [will] require additional attention throughout the coming week.”
Most of the damaged areas are on the fourth floor of Stokes North, but some areas on the third and second floors, and in the first floor Pulse office will require minor repairs as well.
Contractors will also be present to repair the ceilings and replace carpet over the next several days. Vice President for Facilities Daniel Bourque said that office cubicles for at least five stations in Stokes 420 A-E would need to be replaced.
“There are a number of offices on the north wing of the fourth floor that need to be completely emptied and others that we will clean with the contents in place,” Bourque said. “We will give the occupants the option of emptying their offices themselves, if they so desire.”
Bourque said that ideally, faculty members whose offices are on the fourth floor of Stokes North will be able to remove all their necessary belongings before 1 p.m. today so that facilities workers can remove damaged materials. “We will adjust our activity as necessary to try to accommodate the faculty and departments as much as possible,” Bourque said. “We are working hard to return operations to normal as soon as possible, but we ask for the community’s patience and assistance as we deal with this cleanup process.”
University Spokesman Jack Dunn confirmed that there was no significant damage caused by the fire in Gasson.