Roofing materials ignited on the top floor of Jones Hall Thursday, sending black smoke rising above the Florida A&M campus. The building was empty except for a work crew in the basement. No injuries were reported, according to the Tallahassee Fire Department.
A few students said they saw the fire around 5 p.m. and immediately called 911, but the Tallahassee Fire Department spokesman Travis Oaks said they had already been alerted.
“We could see the smoke from across the bridge,” Oaks said speaking about the bridge on South Adams Street. Tar and roofing products ignited and caused the black smoke, Oaks said. The fire was an “isolated incident,” he said.
The commotion of the fire engines and the smoke attracted a group of onlookers.
“It’s a bad situation,” said Molly Beauchamp, 20, a second year accounting student from West Palm Beach who witnessed the fire. “I was by the band room and I could see the smoke.”
It took firefighters about 20 minutes to contain the blaze. While no workers were on the top floor of Jones Hall, Rory Cook, owner of Cook Concrete, said he and his workers were laying concrete in the basement.
“I ran upstairs and saw a fire, but I didn’t try to put it out,” Cook said. “The fire department was here by the time I got up there.”
Jones Hall, the science building, is undergoing an $11 million construction project. All College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff temporarily relocated to other campus locations.