Fire starts at Berkeley College
Emergency services arrive and students evacuate as fire starts near Berkeley late Wednesday afternoon.
Isaac Yu, Contributing Photographer
At least four fire trucks arrived at Elm Street at around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday in response to a leaf fire in the moat outside the South Court of Berkeley College. Around five police cars were also on the scene.
According to a 7:13 p.m. email to Berkeley students, Head of College David Evans said that there were no injuries. A student reported smelling smoke in the dining hall, and people cleared the dining area and college’s suites. Traffic on Elm Street was blocked from York to College Streets. A section of Elm Street was blocked off to pedestrians.
Evans wrote that “smoke from that exterior fire was drawn into the kitchen area of South Court, tripping the fire alarm.” He further added: “What’s more disturbing to me is learning that some students were in their rooms and didn’t hear any alarms. Thus, if the fire had been more severe, we could be dealing with a more catastrophic situation.”
Firefighters responding to the scene focused on an outdoor area containing dumpsters near Porter Gate, adjacent to the Berkeley dining hall. Several hoses were connected to hydrants before being disconnected.
“I’m so scared and concerned and my roommate is in her room right now,” said Awuor Onguru ’24, an opinion editor for the News who lives in Berkeley South and is a Berkeley aide. Onguru spoke after evacuating the building.
Holly Sexton ‘24, who was in the dining hall when the fire alarm sounded, reported smelling smoke. She also said she had heard that the fire originated from the basement, but did not know if this was the case.
Grace Larrabee ‘23 said the alarm wasn’t loud enough to be heard in entryway B and added that she didn’t know something was wrong until she saw a text from a friend 20 minutes later.
The alarm stopped at around 6:02 p.m.