Fire breaks out at historic campus building


Lindsay Freed, Staff Writer

A fire broke out in Torrey Hall at 8 a.m. today while construction workers were renovating the building.

The fire was started by workers who were soldering copper roofing tiles, said Steven Locke, chief engineer at the Burlington Fire Department.

“[The workers] immediately saw it, called us and tripped the fire alarm,” Locke said.

Though the fire department was is hesitant to say the fire is completely contained at 11 a.m., they are confident the fire won’t progress any further, Locke said.

“The fire was burning around the attic space, and it’s taking a lot of manual labor to make sure it’s out,” Locke said. “ We’re working to find the fires in the void spaces; where it’s hidden and traveling.”

There are no reports of injuries from civilians or firefighters, he said.

The surrounding on-campus buildings, including Kalkin Hall and Lafayette Hall, were evacuated as a safety precaution and Colchester Avenue was temporarily closed, according to an Aug. 3 Burlington Free Press article.

Though the third floor of the building has sustained the most damage, the majority is on the exterior of the building, he said.

The third floor of Torrey is home to the Pringle Herbarium, which has over 300,000 plant specimens, according to an Aug. 3 email sent to the UVM community by Gary Derr, vice president for executive operations.

The fire department has not been able to confirm that any specimens were damaged or lost in the fire, Locke said.