Two fire departments respond to SDSU chill plant fire

by David Hernandez and Patrick Carr

988436_10204066020503233_3751082987872525421_n12:50 p.m. update: The damage to the chill plant did not affect the campus, according to an SDSU NewsCenter update. The cooling system is not affected. As part of a project that includes replacing mechanical systems and cooling towers, demolition work was being done on the chilled water towers.

12:03 p.m. update: The fire has been deemed an accident and the investigation is closed, San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Lee Swanson said. 

Original story: Two local fire departments responded late Wednesday night to a fire at a San Diego State building that provides ventilation throughout campus.

The fire at the building, which sustained $200,000 damages, was reported at approximately 11:20 p.m., San Diego Fire Deputy Chief Steve Ricci said.

Workers inside the university’s chill plant were repairing two chiller units with cutting torches when material caught fire, Ricci said. The workers were unable to put the fire out and exited the building. No injuries were sustained.

Approximately 60 personnel from the San Diego Fire-Rescue and Heartland Fire and Rescue departments put out the main body of the fire within 35 minutes, San Diego Fire spokesman Lee Swanson said.

The incident became a 2-alarm fire because of the amount of smoke, Ricci said.

The $200,000 damage to the building structure may affect air conditioning throughout SDSU, Ricci said. The chiller plant is the main source of ventilation. The fire caused approximately $100,000 damage to the contents inside the building.

FireA HAZMAT team was on scene, but there were no problems involving hazardous materials.

San Diego Fire will investigate the nature of the fire but it is considered to be an accident at the moment. San Diego Fire will remain on scene until late Friday morning, Ricci said.

SDSU’s chill plant, located near Parking Structure 4 and West Commons, was the only building damaged by the fire.

The chill plant was constructed around 1970, according to SDSU Library’s Digital Collections.