Around 6:40pm on Sunday, October 13th, Nina and Danica Vukotic were on duty in the Game Room when they heard a sudden noise. Nina got up to investigate and saw that “the ceiling panel was melting, and then it started to burn very fast.” They quickly informed Charles Chacko, who was manning the Information Desk that day. Skeptical at first, he went downstairs, then saw something flickering in the Game Room lounge. “As I went to get a closer look, I visibly saw a fire in the light fixture,” said Charles. “The fire melted away half of the covering of the light and was already burning and falling to the floor.” He called Public Safety, then looked around for a fire alarm. Seeing none, he decided there was no time to lose, so he grabbed a fire extinguisher and took care of the flames himself, which by now had spread to the floor.
Upon arriving at the scene, Public Safety officers requested assistance from the Newark Fire Department to determine if any threat remained. They assessed the area and concluded that there was no further danger. Officer Eric DiFrancesco from Public Safety reports that the fire was caused by a ballast in the light fixture, which exploded and melted its clear lens. “A Physical Plant electrician responded and removed the light fixture a short time later. No fire alarms were activated in the building because it was an isolated incident.”
“We were lucky that day since we had staff in the Game Room,” said Charles. “The entire Game Room could have been badly damaged, as the fire could have spread to the pool table area and easily caused, a massive fire which would have set off the sprinklers in the Game Room.” This event marked Charles’ first day as a Campus Center Manager – surely a day he will remember and one that proves him to be the right man for the job.