Mattresses Burn in Belk Sub-Basement – by David Thompson
At approximately 10:30 AM on Tuesday, August 6, 1991 a fire erupted in the sub-basement of Belk dormitory.
While no injuries were reported, and the fire did no structural damage to the building, several mattresses were destroyed in the blaze. Sparks generated from work being done on air conditioning pipes in the building apparently fell through to the sub-basement, igniting the mattresses in storage below. Firefighters from Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, and Mount Gilead were summoned to combat the fire, which took over two hours to extinguish.
Dense smoke from the burning and smoldering mattresses limited access to the source of the fire. The intense heat of both the fire and the 90+ degree weather outside, combined with the crowded conditions in the sub-basement to make fighting the fire more difficult. Several firefighters required treatment for heat exhaustion.
Watching medical professionals administer air to oxygen deprived firefighters, Dean of Students Will Terry commented that the incident should serve the students as an example of what local fire departments have to face. “This should make the students see how inappropriate it is to pull false fire alarms,” he said.
Although cleaning crews arrived Wednesday, August 7, to repair the smoke and water damage, several students have complained of an unpleasant odor permeating even the upper floors of the dorms. The smell, however, will not inhibit use of the building.
Davidson dormitory damaged – Sparks touch off fire downstairs – by Valca Valentine (page 2B)
Sparks from a grinding tool ignited a fire Tuesday in the basement of a Davidson College dormitory. The fire broke out near the completion of a $250,000 renovation project at the dorm. The redbrick, six-story building is largest on-campus dormitory, housing 320 students. Mecklenburg County Assistant Fire Marshal Dale Readling said a crew replacing the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning unit began cutting and grinding steam pipes, through which sparks descended to the basement. “When those sparks hit the mattresses and furniture stored down there, well, you got a fire.”