Update to Trash Chute Fire at Illini Towers

CFD Fire Information Report

Who: Champaign Fire Department
What: Trash chute fire at Illini Towers
When: Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Time of Call: 4: 23 PM
Time on Scene: 4:26 PM
Strike of Fire: 7:57 PM
Last Unit Cleared: 8:10 PM
Where: Illini Towers, 409 E. Chalmers St.
Owner: Campus Living Villages, Houston TX
Occupants: University of Illinois students

Cause of fire: A fire in the trash chute between the basement and the first floor extended beyond the metal chute liner. Inspection personnel will work with building management to correct the situation.

Dollar loss: $5,000.00

Other Information:
Residents were immediately evacuated. At 5:06 were allowed to return to the building’s cafeteria as firefighters continued to extinguish a small pocket of fire that had moved outside the metal liner.

Champaign and Urbana fire units were dispatched for an automatic fire alarm. The fire alarm panel indicated activation in the sixth floor trash room. Smoke was found in this room. Upon further investigation, it was determined that the trash chute collection dumpster in the basement was the original fire source.

An air pressurized water extinguisher was used to knock down the fire, and the steam caused the trash chute sprinkler head to activate. The dumpster was removed to the exterior of the building, and four fire companies started to ventilate the smoke from each floor of the 16 story building. Small amounts of smoke continued to come from the chute, and fire was found at the first floor level of the void space between the trash chute inner liner and outer chase wall. A small amount of trash had accumulated in this void space and ignited due to conducted heat from the dumpster fire. Firefighters used saws to remove this metal liner to allow full extinguishment. The sprinkler and fire alarm systems were fully reset, and the trash rooms locked on all floors, then the residents were allowed back onto the upper floors.

Be certain that smoking materials are fully extinguished prior to disposing of them in the trash.