Fire on York Hill campus causes power outage
“It (the call) came in as a structure fire call on the York Hill campus,” Hamden Fire Department Chief David Berardesca said. “When they arrived they found that there was a brush fire near the York Hill access road and it was caused by a downed line. There were no structures involved there were no exposures, it wasn’t close to any of the buildings.”
Quinnipiac released a statement at 1:39 p.m. stating that all buildings on the York Hill campus were operating on generator power due to a tree falling onto a transformer causing a power outage.
“United Illuminating is on the scene. We will keep you posted as more information becomes available. Thank you for your patience and understanding,” the statement said.
Since the power line was still energized the firefighters on site could not extinguish the fire. While waiting on United Illuminating (UI) electric company to arrive and de-energize the power line the Hamden Fire Department contained the fire.
“That’s why they were on the scene for so long,” Berardesca said. “It most likely would have taken them 10-15 minutes to put the fire out depending on how big the brush fire was, but not long at all. They were just there basically for safety’s sake to make sure it didn’t spread and make sure to isolate the area to keep people from coming in and waiting for the scene to be safe.”
While Berardesca is unsure of where the first call came from, he said with York Hill being at a higher elevation smoke can be seen from further away.
“I can understand the understanding of it being (called in as) a building fire,” Berardesca said. “But that’s okay better safe than sorry. We had a full response, a full structure fire response, heading up there. That’s three engines, a tower truck and a Battalion Chief and a rescue vehicle. As soon as (the response) got there and the Battalion Chief got there he cancelled the rest of the assignment and they went back to their regular duties.”
The Fire Department left the scene at six minutes past three, according to Berardesca.
“They were there for quite a while but the reason that they were there for so long was because they were waiting for UI the electric company to get there to de-energize the line,” Berardesca said. “They would have contained any spread of the fire if it got near a building, but in order to completely extinguish it they had to wait a while.”
At 4:09 p.m. the university release a statement declaring that the tree that fell onto the transformer knocking out the power has been removed.
“We are hoping that power will be fully restored later this afternoon,” the statement said. “We will keep you posted as more information becomes available.”
The York Hill campus regained full commercial power at 6:28 p.m.
Events like this are more of a rarity, according to Berardesca.
“I know Quinnipiac is very good about keeping their grounds clean and safe so we don’t have many issues at all at Quinnipiac and we appreciate that,” Berardesca said.