Overheated dumbwaiter motor leads to Beck evacuation

By Kaylee Lindenmuth
News Editor

Beck Hall was evacuated twice the morning of Sept. 13, after a dumbwaiter motor overheated in the building. The second time, local fire companies responded to the call and arrived at Beck.

The first evacuation was just before 9 a.m. KU Public Safety officials searched the building and, after about 15 minutes, determined the building was all clear, and allowed residents and Health and Wellness Center staff back inside.

Minutes later, alarms sounded once again, and everyone filed back outside while fire crews from Kutztown, Fleetwood, Topton and Lyons were dispatched to the scene.

Kutztown’s Ladder 46 was positioned in front of the building with its ladder propped against the roof while its crew went inside. Engine 46 was positioned at the rear and did likewise.

Lyons Engine 35 and Utility 35 set up near Deatrick Hall, while Fleetwood’s Engine 45 set up at the top of the DMZ Their crews proceeded to the scene. Fleetwood Fire Police directed traffic though the curves behind Old Main.

Fire crews found that an overheated dumbwaiter motor burned out after getting stuck, causing it to smoke.

“The motor on the dumbwaiter overheated and started smoking,” said Jeffrey LaGamba, Assistant Director, Environmental Health and Safety. “There were no flames.”

LaGamba added that the fire response is standard procedure in such events.

University Relations added in an email announcement, “no damage was found from the smoke.”

By 10 a.m., fire crews were clear of the scene and residents returned to the building and operations resumed as normal at the Health and Wellness Center.

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