The University Police Department (UPD) and the Little Falls Fire Department responded to a car fire in Lot 17 at around 8:14 a.m. on Jan. 31. The engine of a 2005 BMW was what had caught fire, and the fire eventually spread to a neighboring car.
When officers arrived and saw the car on fire, they moved nearby people to a safer location. A community alert was also sent out via text message to the campus community to avoid the area.
Students were alarmed by the sight of the car fire while heading to and from classes. One student, undeclared freshman Alexis Gonzales, said he saw the fire in the distance.
“I saw the smoke when I was coming to school,” Gonzales said. “I thought it was Red Hawk Diner cooking.”
Gonzales was unsure of how to react but decided to just go to class and carry on with his day.
“Luckily as I went to class I heard fire trucks coming closer,” Gonzales said. “It was done by the time I got out of class.”
According to UPD Capt. Kieran Barrett, the Little Falls Fire Department responded as the vehicle was being engulfed in flames.
Freshman psychology major Ashley Rosado was also there during the car fire.
“I park around here so I thought my car was next to it, I got scared,” Rosado said. “I was just worried about my car.”
At around 8:40 a.m., the fire was safely contained.
The campus property was unaffected by the fire and no one was harmed, but the car was beyond repair.
“The vehicle is a complete loss and one other vehicle sustained damage as a result of the fire,” Barrett said. “Both vehicles were owned by university employees and were towed from the scene.”
The damaged car was not targeted, and the fire was not arson or vandalism.
“The cause of the fire was investigated by the fire department and deemed to be mechanical in nature and by no means purposeful,” Barrett said. “Thankfully, there were no injuries reported with this incident.”