Small fire leads to Cravens evacuation

The Fire Department was called to Raymond Cravens Library where a small mechanical fire occurred in Bowling Green, Kentucky on February 16, 2016. Ebony Cox/HERALD

Emma Collins

On Tuesday morning, a fire broke out in Cravens Graduate Center and Library resulting in an evacuation of the entire building.

According to Daniel Peach, library facilities coordinator, the fire started on the first floor of the library when a spark caught some insulation on fire.

“It was extinguished quickly, but it did create a full response and evacuation of the building,” Peach said.


Maintenance staff was working on the heating and cooling system on the first floor. According to Bryan Russell, chief facilities officer, the staff was using a grinding machine, a machine that uses a coarse wheel to grind down materials.

“They were using a grinder to grind some bolts off of a steel plate, and some spark ignited some paper-backed insulation,” Russell said.

The fire remained small and caused very little damage; only some of the insulation will need to be replaced.

Peach attributes this to the quick action of a member of the maintenance staff.

“He got the fire out really quickly. The fire extinguisher was right there, so he put it out, and it just created more smoke than flames,” Peach said.

Despite this, the fire alarm did go off and all nine floors of the library had to be evacuated. The fire department was also called.

“It happened all really quickly; we got everybody out,” Peach said.

The fire and subsequent evacuation did not affect the library’s hours. The fire did not affect the nearby Helm Library.

Helm and Cravens are connected by two walkways between the second floor of Helm and the fifth floor of Cravens, and the first floor of Helm and the fourth floor of Cravens. Despite these walkways, Helm did not have to be evacuated.

“Cravens and Helm are two separate buildings, so if ours goes off then theirs won’t unless it hits both, affecting both buildings,” Jessica Simpson, a Helm employee, said. “They’re together, but they’re separate.”