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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Heller fire leaves up to $50,000 in damages

Published: October 22, 2010
Section: News

PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

A single-alarm fire started on the patio behind the Schneider building of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at 10 a.m. Monday and then moved inside the building, causing between $25,000 and $50,000 worth of damage, Waltham Fire Department and university officials said.

Students were evacuated from their classes and sent to Levin Ballroom in the Usdan Student Center before they were allowed to return to Heller classrooms at about 12:30 p.m., Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan said.

Currently, the fire is of “undetermined origin,” according to Callahan. Waltham Fire Chief Richard Cardillo said that the fire started outside before spreading into the building, but he did not comment on the cause.

Callahan responded to the call and saw on the patio that “the fire was starting to climb up the wall,” with flames catching onto leafs and quickly expanding because of the windy conditions.

Upon arriving at the scene Cardillo said he saw a “heavy smoke condition” inside the building.

The flames destroyed an identification card reader and also broke some glass in the building, among other damages, Callahan said.

Shortly after the fire, the university sent an e-mail from Senior Vice President for Administration Mark Collins saying that “a small fire broke out around 10 a.m. this morning in the Heller School Building. Everyone was evacuated and the fire was quickly extinguished.”

After classes resumed at 12:30 p.m., Collins sent another e-mail saying that workers were repairing the damage done to the building and would continue to work Monday evening.

In previous years, the university ran an evacuation drill for the Heller building, so people were familiar with the procedures, Callahan said.