An Oswego State van caught fire after two on-campus plumbers arrived for a job at Moreland Hall on August 28 around 12:30 p.m.
The residence hall was evacuated and University Police dispatchers were called at 12:59 p.m., according to University Police Chief John Rossi. No injuries occurred.
Plumbers Fred Madison and Mike Bareham smelled smoke as they exited the vehicle near the SAVAC garage in Moreland Hall’s back parking lot when the Oswego State vehicle went up in flames.
According to Oswego Fire Department Chief Jeffery McCrobie, the fire alarm system went off in Moreland Hall because the building’s ventilation intake system was right next to the fire. All the smoke coming from the van was sucked into the vents and activated the alarm.
The operator of the vehicle made a call to the Oswego Fire Department after trying to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher.
“ We are just glad there were no injuries,” McCrobie said. “The operator did exactly what he should have done. When he discovered that there was something wrong, he got away from the vehicle. He attempted with a fire extinguisher, but the fire was too big and he just got away and kept everyone else away.”
The Oswego Fire Department Engine 5 arrived at the scene at 1:03 p.m. and was able to put out the fire.
According to McCrobie, the passengers did not report any malfunction while they were in the vehicle. Everything seemed normal to both Madison and Bareham.
An investigation was conducted, but the cause of the fire is still undetermined.
“With such extensive damage, you have no idea where it came from,” McCrobie said.
McCrobie said the Oswego Fire Department handles vehicle fires “pretty routinely,” although it was odd to see it with an Oswego vehicle.
According to Rossi, Oswego State has its own team of three mechanics located in the commissary across Route 104 off the main campus. Each Oswego State vehicle is on a scheduled maintenance plan.
“When something goes wrong or breaks or just needs oil changed, they will bring them in right away and get fixed right away,” Rossi said. “We never send our vehicles out; everything that needs to be done will be done on-campus.”