A dumpster fire outside the University House TCU apartment building on South University Drive ignited shortly before 9:39 p.m. Friday night, and no residents were harmed.
“We got the call at 9:39 p.m.,” said Mike Noyes, Fort Worth Fire Department Battalion Chief. “There was a fire in the dumpsters which the sprinkler system put out, but the fire continued to smolder in the dumpster for a long time, which caused smoke to continue going up through the trash chute.”
Noyes and his battalion arrived on the scene in just under five minutes.
“Even if you have the fire knocked down, you can have smoke going up into the building and that’s not good, which is basically what the situation was,” Noyes said. “Generally, the sprinkler systems contain, but we just had to come in and finish putting out the fire, which didn’t take very long.”
Noyes said the fire was contained to the dumpster and that the only damage was water and smoke-related.
“The only issue in the building was smoke damage because all the water damage from our hoses was into the dumpster area, so that didn’t cause major damage either,” Noyes said. “The Fort Worth Fire Department has a policy once a sprinkler system is activated and shut off that they have to maintain a fire watch until they have a sprinkler company come to the building to reinstate the system to fully operational.”
“That’s been done now, so our job is now complete,” Noyes said. “That’s the problem with those trash chutes: the smoke goes up those chutes all into the building.”
The cause of the dumpster fire is still under investigation.
“There’s a rumor that someone apparently didn’t blow out their candle and just threw it down the trash chute, which potentially caused the fire,” said David Goodman, a senior criminal justice major at TCU. “We were told to find somewhere else to sleep for the night, so they can further investigate the cause of the fire.”
On Saturday however, Charles Robinson, University House Marketing Manager, said students were allowed to sleep in their rooms on Friday, and that they are still investigating the cause of the fire.