The University Human Resources (HR) building, located on University Avenue by the 215 Freeway, caught on fire at approximately 7:25 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 18. The building was evacuated and no one was harmed.
According to Tim Bueller, a media relations representative of the Riverside FireDepartment (RFD), the department received a call at approximately 7:30 a.m.from the building’s single occupant. In addition, the fire alarm alerted the RFD and the University of California Police Department (UCPD), who arrived approximately 15 minutes later.
The fire was isolated to the second floor of the attic, which had extensive damage, according to Bueller. Fire department authorities determined it was an electrical fire.
The smoke was visible from the UCR Extension Center (UNEX), according to Bei Bei Dai, an exchange student studying English at the extension center. “I was sitting outside right when it happened,” Dai said.
In response to the fire, the HUB locked a door on the far right side of the building to prevent the smoke from entering the dining facility. Christopher Fierro, a third-year media and cultural studies major, stated that the facility closed the doors as soon as management noticed the smoke at 7:30 a.m.
“We were still prepping in the morning when it occurred. We were then ordered to lock the door on the right side of the HUB and put up a sign to notify the students,” Fierro explained.
UCPD sent an e-mail at approximately 8:05 a.m. which advised students to stay out of the area. They sent a confirmation that the fire was extinguished an hour later.
Director of Media Relations Kris Lovekin sent an email to students stating that employees working in the building would be temporarily relocated or work from home until inspectors verify that the building can be reoccupied.
In a press statement, Chancellor Kim Wilcox said, “We have a plan in place to continue normal operations for Human Resources, including protecting documents and other computers and other business materials.”
Rosa Prosser, an employee from the UCR Extension (UNEX) Center was able to obtain a video of the fire which was in clear view from that building.
“I was kind of in shock when it occurred, you don’t really expect that to happen,” Fierro stated in response to discovering the fire.