FIRE struck at the Lloyd Brathwaite Student Administration Building, UWI St Augustine campus, on Thursday night.
Deputy principal Prof Indar Ramnarine told Newsday officials noticed smoke coming from the building just after 7 pm.
He said workers at the building alerted security guards, who then alerted the fire services and police. Fire officers from the Tunapuna and San Juan fire stations, as well as Fire Headquarters, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain responded.
The building was evacuated and around 8 pm, he said, the fire was brought under control and put out.
The vice principal said he did not know what caused the fire but confirmed that investigations were under way. Online videos of the fire, taken by students, which were shared online and quickly went viral, appeared to indicate the fire may have been electrical.
Ramnarine said the building, named after a previous principal who served from 1969-1984, housed the campus registrar and the admissions department. The area on fire was a storage room, Ramnarine said.
“There are cleaning chemicals, groceries, other supplies. It seems to be restricted to that area, so it doesn’t seem too serious. There are no reported injuries, we evacuated people right away.”
He said the building will be closed on Friday as “we try to determine if there was any structural damage, and clean whatever has to be cleaned.” He was very grateful that there were no injuries.
“I thought that we might have lost the building, but they (firemen) did a really good job.”
The guild's vice president Krishna Sankar said he was studying at the lab in the Faculty of Science and Technology when he was alerted to the fire.
“First we saw on TikTok that the building was on fire. Then we alerted everyone. No one believed us, they kept studying in the lab. A few anxious students ran out and they told us yes, they were seeing the smoke.
“We came down. That fire out and ketch back about eight times and now too is thick black smoke.
“From my preliminary assessment, thick black smoke means that the heat is very compact. If it was grey, it means the heat was close to being eliminated. So it’s of concern to me," Sankar said.
Students Amrit Maharaj, Aneila Ramai and Neela Ramlal said they ran out when they saw a message on their group chat.
Maharaj said, “All of us just packed up our things, we saw people running towards the building.
"We came to do an all-nighter (studies) for finals. So we sprinted from the Faculty of Social Sciences to the admin building. We hear glass breaking and saw the flames. It was something!”
This story was originally published with the title "Fire at admin building in UWI, St Augustine campus" and was adjusted to include additional details. See original post below:
FIRE which is believed to be electrical in nature, broke out at the Lloyd Brathwaite Student Administration Building, UWI St Augustine campus on Thursday night.
An advisory to UWI staff and students stated that smoke and then flames were seen coming from the building at about 7 pm and reports were made to the police and fire services.
The building, which houses student administration, was immediately evacuated and up to press time, there were no reports of injuries. Firemen, police and the UWI's administrative staff including its campus incident management team were at the scene as of 8.30 pm.
Newsday understands that units from several fire stations including the one in Tunapuna and Fire Headquarters, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain responded.
The building which was constructed in the early 2000s, was named after the campus principal who served between 1969 and 1984.