Officials: No fire at UF building hit by sprinklers

Published: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 1:10 a.m.
Though officials initially said the heat from a fire caused a sprinkler system to soak the University of Florida's Bartram Hall on Friday night, later evidence showed there was no fire, according to University Police.
Bartram Hall, near the corner of Museum Road and Newell Drive, experienced significant water damage after the sprinkler system dumped what officials said was 18 inches of standing water in some parts of the building.
"They had to shut the electricity off for the entire building," said University Police Department spokesman Lt. Stacy Ettel. "It's unknown what caused the sprinklers to go off."
Ettel said police have set up signs in front of the building, which is used for zoology and botany classes, to prevent the public from entering.
"The staff was also contacted to move sensitive items and experiments from the building into Carr Hall," he said.
Although Ettel said there had been no fire, he said that UPD has since increased the number of officers patrolling the area as a precaution in case of a possible fire.
The building will remain closed to the public until it is cleaned up and all the power is restored, according to Ettel.
"Most of the damage was on the sixth floor," said Gainesville Fire Rescue District Chief Michael Cowart.
Although Ettel said there was minor damage to the rest of the building's floors, he did not a have dollar estimate of the damage.
"As always, there was a quick fire rescue response to the scene and the most important thing was that there were no injuries," said UF spokesman Steve Orlando.

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