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College of Mount Saint Vincent Fire in Founders Hall May 31, 2014


Riverdale, N.Y. – Thanks to the quick response of College Security Staff and the New York Fire Department to a fire alarm, a Saturday, May 31, 2014 morning fire at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in an unoccupied office on the third floor of the Founders Hall building was quickly contained. The fire did not spread beyond the office and hallway.

At approximately 9 a.m., College Campus Security and Safety officers responded to a fire alarm indicating a fire in the north wing of the third floor of Founders Hall, the College’s largest administrative and classroom building, and observed smoke coming from under the closed and locked door of the Office of Human Resources. Upon entering the office, fire was observed and officers recognized the fire was not containable with the portable fire extinguishers in hand. Fire officials already en route to the College in response to the fire alarm worked to quickly extinguish the fire in the Office of Human Resources and outer hallway.

Firemen inspected each office within the north wing, confirming that the building was unoccupied as Security officials had previously indicated, and finding no evidence of the fire having spread to other areas of the building. The fire was fully extinguished and the response by the Fire Department completed before noon on Saturday.

Due to the quick response of the College’s Security personnel and the Fire Department to the alarm, fire damage was limited to the Office of Human Resources and third floor hallway. Extensive water damage impacted the floors below the third floor fire area, and extensive smoke damage occurred throughout the north wing.

Kevin DeGroat, Vice President of Operations at the College, who arrived on the Riverdale Campus shortly after the fire was reported, noted on Saturday evening that damages to the building were limited and work to restore the spaces to resume operations were already underway.

“We are very grateful that the FDNY and College Security staff responded to the alarm and handled the fire so quickly. While the smoke and water damages to the north wing are serious, we have over 60 workers on site this evening to begin cleanup of the areas. We anticipate having the floors below the third floor returned to be fully operational by the end of the week, and the upper floors shortly thereafter. The third floor will require more extensive renovations to be restored to operations. College employees who work in those areas will be temporarily relocated to other areas of the College until the cleanup and restoration is completed.”

The source of the fire within the office was investigated by fire officials during the response. The investigation concluded that the fire was caused by a malfunction in a laptop computer in the Office of Human Resources.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of  study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.