Video: Mass. firefighters battle rooftop fire at college campus
Fire was showing from the roof of an American International College building in Springfield when firefighters arrived
By Ryan Mancini, Heather Morrison
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A massive fire was seen at American International College on Thursday, prompting a response of at least six fire trucks from the Springfield Fire Department.
All companies arrived to knock down the blaze, the fire department tweeted at 5:26 p.m.
SFD “On Scene “ 1000 State St. Working fire A.I.C. 2nd alarm has been struck all companies are operating at this time. pic.twitter.com/VCzcmmn4w4
— SPRINGFIELD FIRE (@SFD_HQ) July 27, 2023
At least two alarms were struck, according to a tweet from the Springfield Fire Department posted at about 5:30 p.m. They are at 1000 State St., the tweet said, which is the AIC campus. Springfield Fire Chief Drew Piemonte confirmed to MassLive he was at the site of the fire.
Firefighters sprayed water from at least six different trucks from multiple angles on Courniotes Hall. The roof appeared to contain a majority of the fire. Firefighters broke all the windows on the top of at least one side of the building.
Eventually, firefighters used a chainsaw and prybar to remove part of the siding and roof.
Courniotes Hall is one of the college’s facilities dedicated to the School of Health Sciences, according to the school’s website. It houses the school’s nursing program and provides classroom space for additional health sciences courses. The building has an amphitheater, several laboratories, classrooms, and faculty and administrative offices.
“While there is significant damage to the building, AIC is committed to taking all actions necessary to ensure that we provide students with continuity in their course of studies in the fall of 2023,” the college wrote in a statement.
By 6:30 p.m., firefighters had stopped spraying water on the building.
A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for the area Thursday afternoon. The National Weather Service had warned residents to “take shelter now” from the incoming weather threat.
American International College said in a statement the fire was due to lightning.
The college said the campus police did a walk-through to ensure that no students, faculty, or staff were inside and that the building was cleared.
“AIC is known for its resilience and we will come back stronger than ever thanks to the help of our community,” American International College’s President Hubert Benitez wrote. “We want to sincerely thank our first responders, including Springfield Fire and Police Departments as well as our Campus Police who acted swiftly to help mitigate further damage to our campus.”