Cleveland, GA (July 06, 2011) – Truett-McConnell College’s athletic complex suffered damage from a fire on July 4, 2011. The chief fire marshall stated lightining as the suspected cause from the storm that came through on Monday evening.
Lightining is presumed to have struck the south-east corner of the gymnasium around 7:30-8:00 p.m.. Fortunately, the gym was unoccupied at the time of the incident. A public safety officer detected the scent of smoke from an electrical fire while patroling the campus that night. After examining several buildings, the officer discovered smoke arising from the electrical room window. He immediately asked another employee to call 911 as he entered the building carrying a fire extinguisher. Because of the officer’s quick response, the fire did not spread throughout the gym and the flames were contained to the electric room only. However, the underside of the bleachers were severely charged by the heat and there was smoke damage.
TMC is working with fire officials to identify the exact cause of the fire, and arrangements are already in progress to repair any smoke and electrical damage sustained from the storm. Several areas of the athletic complex will need repair including the electric breaker box, transformer and exterior bricks.
“I am thankful that our public safety officer responded to the incident as quickly as he did. I have no doubt that he saved the gym from total destruction. If the bleachers had caught on fire, the gym would have been a total loss,” said David Armstrong, Vice President for Administrative Services. ‘‘Whether students are on campus or on break, campus safety is still a key issue for the department, and this incident solidifies their hard work and dedication to Truett-McConnell College.”
The officer who extinguished the flames was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center suffering from smoke inhalation. He was released early Tuesday morning. Other damages from the storm include trees knocked down and minimal wind damage to the Nix Center. TMC already has electrical and clean-up firms on the scene to estimate damages. The college is currently waiting on insurance to evaluate the situation prior to commencing clean up. It is still too early to speculate on the date the gym will reopen. However, the college is aware of the August 18, 2011 convocation and signing of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 by faculty scheduled in the gym and will make arrangements accordingly as it gathers more information.
Truett-McConnell College equips students to fulfill the Great Commission by fostering a Christian worldview through a Biblically-centered liberal arts education.
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