Breaking: Campus Pinball Burns

25 10 2009

After hearing incessant sirens beginning around 10:00 or 10:30 Saturday night, a couple of guys and I decided to get out of the fraternity house and see if we could find out what all the commotion was.  We were expecting to have to drive to find the accident/fire/natural disaster in the making…but it ended up being right down the street from us.

The old Campus Pinball building, next to the massive University Towers apartment complex and across the street from Pinball Pete’s (probably only helpful if you have any idea where any of these things are) was still burning hot when my group arrived at 11:30.  There were throngs of drunken students mixed in with the curious.

You’d think something significant was actually going on by the size of the crowd—after all, it was just a building that had been abandoned since I’ve been going to school here going up in smoke.  It was probably housing a meth lab, or a bunch of hoboes incapable of safely building a fire indoors, or the property owner wanted the insurance money.  As far as I know, noone was injured in the fire…

In any case, I managed to take some pictures.  My camera isn’t meant for this kind of work, but I think they came out pretty well all things considered:

South University was packed.

South University was packed.

The fire seemed contained when I showed up, but it flared up again several times over the next hour.

There were at least half a dozen rigs present, not to mention the police cars, ambulances, etc.

There were at least half a dozen rigs present, not to mention the police cars, ambulances, etc.

I didn't catch any of the big initial flareups, but the flames proved fairly diffcult to tame.

I didn't catch any of the big initial flareups, but the flames proved fairly difficult to tame.

You can see how densely packed the area is...

You can see how densely packed the street is...

I eventually moved up to the roof of a nearby (South Forrest) parking structure.  Seven stories up, I had a decent, if a little distant, view.  By that time, the fire department had decided to move a pumper truck onto the roof of another parking structure, located behind the burning building, in order to dump water directly through the former roof area.

Kind of spooky. The searchlights are from the pumper on the roof of the garage.

Kind of spooky. The searchlights are from the pumper on the roof of the garage.

By 12:30, the fire appeared to have been more or less defeated (a good thing, too, because, in the words of one of the many people on the roof of the parking garage, “this fire has gotten pretty boring, I’m going to head back to the party.  We should have brought the beer up here.”).  Firefighters began entering the building at this point.  I couldn’t get a good shot, but there wasn’t much to see…

Hopefully, no one was injured in the fire.  Chances are, the building that burned would have been razed as soon as the economy picked up; it was rather dilapidated and has not been occupied for years.

And I just can’t wait to hear about this event four million times over the next few weeks.

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One response

25 10 2009
kathusitalo

Good pix! Let’s hope no one was injured. Check the batteries in your smoke detector, please!

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