Mechanical fire singes Acker Gym roof

Firefighters used a portable ladder to get up and down from the roof of Acker Gym, where the mechanical fire took place. Photo credit: Angelo Boscacci

Fire engines and students lined Warner Street earlier this morning after a mechanical fire preceded an evacuation of Acker Gym.

No injuries were reported, and classes in the building have recommenced.

A faculty member called emergency services, reported smoke and pulled a fire alarm around 9 a.m. which prompted an evacuation of the building, said Chico Fire Department Fire Prevention Inspector Marie Fickert.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, light smoke was billowing from the roof.

A motor on the roof overheated and caught fire, said Chico Fire Department Division Chief Bill Hack.

Five engines, four from Chico Fire Department and one from CalFire, responded to the call, Fickert said. Firefighters scaled the side of Acker Gym with a portable ladder.

The motor, a connected extension power cord and some dried leaves that had fallen on the roof from the surrounding trees were burning, Fickert said. Firefighter Andy Obert extinguished the overheated motor with a hose after the electricity was cut off.

The motor was a sump pump used to extract water that had accumulated on the roof, said university spokesperson Joe Wills.

There’s currently no indication that the fire will affect instruction or other uses of Acker Gym, Wills said.

By about 10 a.m., Chico Fire Department had left the scene.

A second alarm that sounded around 9:40 a.m. was caused by electricians working on the alarm system, said University Police Chief Robyn Hearne.

The university works diligently to conduct educational and hands-on training annually, Fickert said.

“Everything went out exactly how their training would initiate,” she said.

Nicholas Carr can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.