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Columbus Division of Fire respond to minor incident at Scott Lab

Columbus Division of Fire Captain Brian Williams (back turned) talks with a researcher from the Turbulence and Combustion Research Lab about an incident inside the lab which led to a 911 call. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

The Columbus Division of Fire on Wednesday responded to a call about an active fire on the fourth floor of Scott Laboratory, but the situation had been contained by the time firefighters arrived.

The call came from two students inside the Turbulence and Combustion Research Lab, Captain Brian Williams said.

Williams said the students “experiment with flames and combustion all the time,” but, on Wednesday, a piece of lab equipment burned to the point where the students decided to call 911.

The lab equipment, though, is made in such a way that when it catches on fire, it will shut itself off, which is what happened Wednesday and why the incident remained very minor, Williams said.

“Was there a fire? There might have been a tiny little fire on the instrument equipment,” he said. “But it was contained and [the students] did everything they were supposed to do. They called 911; it was part of their protocol.”

Columbus Division of Fire Engine No. 7 sits on West 19th Avenue after a minor incident was reported inside Scott Lab. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Perhaps one element of the protocol that wasn’t followed was whether the building should be evacuated following a 911 call. That didn’t happen Wednesday, and Williams said the fire department had discussions with lab personnel students about it.

The situation always seemed to be in control, even before the fire department arrived, but when asked if people should have been evacuated, Williams said, “I don’t know.”

“I think we are going to solve that issue with this building and their protocol,” Williams said. “They’re professionals. They deal with it everyday. I don’t think it was that extreme.”

Four fire engines, an ambulance and University Police vehicles filled 19th Avenue a little after 5:15 p.m. Students walking near the area remained calm and looked more confused than anything.

While the situation inside Scott Lab turned out to be quite minor, Williams said it was called in as “an active fire,” so the fire department responded with its normal protocol.

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