VIDEO: Roofwork ignites fire on YSU campus

It was first day of Spring semester

Video provided by YSU student Alessandra Montanez.

YOUNGSTOWN – City firefighters responded within minutes Monday to Ward Beecher Hall on the Youngstown State University campus, where the science classroom building caught fire around 12:30 p.m.

The building was occupied with many students on the first day of the Spring semester, but all occupants got out unscathed.

Youngstown Fire Battalion Chief Jimmy Drummond said the fire began when a roofing company tried to fix a small leak on the flat portion of the building’s roof.

“The roofing company was using a torch to help patch the repair. It got up behind the metal roofing and got into the plywood, but it didn’t extend into the building too far,” Drummond said.

Drummond said firefighters wet the building to drown the fire before placing tarps inside to lessen water damage.

Curt Spivey, Ward Beecher Planetarium engineer, said the fire apparently began in a part of the building that holds “mechanicals,” such as electrical systems and heating and ventilation.

The fire moved in the direction of the planetarium and did some damage there, he said.

Spivey noted some of the material that is now visible because it pulled away from the building is the original copper dome from 1967.

An introductory-level astronomy class was in the building when the fire started.

Spivey said a professor teaching in the planetarium indicated people started to smell smoke about 12:30 p.m., and the fire alarms went off. He said probably 90 students or more were in the building at the time, and everyone got out safely with no injuries.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.85/week.

Subscribe Today