Penn State

Construction sparks fire at Penn State’s HUB; no structural damage reported

Firefighters quickly snuffed out a fire Monday afternoon in a stairwell cavity of the HUB-Robeson Center on Penn State’s campus. The fire started while construction crews were working on the building as part of the renovation and expansion project.

Construction workers were cutting a steel beam at the time the fire started around 1:40 p.m. in the brick stairwell cavity at the Robeson Gallery entrance of the building.

Steve Bair, the Centre Region fire director, said the heat from the cutting ignited a thick foam board.

Penn State, in a news release, said construction crews think a spark flew into the exterior wall cavity and started the fire.

Bair said crews encountered a lot of smoke from the fire. The smoke was cleared from the building with fans.

Penn State said the fire did not cause any structural or interior damage to the HUB.

The $44.6 million HUB construction project consists of a 54,800-square-foot addition and 52,000 square feet of new space to the building. It will include a renovated bookstore, a new mezzanine for the bookstore and a two-story theater.

Work will continue through this academic year, with an end date of summer 2015 expected.