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American University evacuates buildings due to transformer fire, officials say

(Photo, DC Fire Department)
(Photo, DC Fire Department)
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American University evacuated all buildings because of a transformer fire Saturday morning.

“Smoke was everywhere when we first left the building,” said American University junior, Rianna Joy.

Joy says she got a text alert on Saturday morning that her building had to evacuate.

“The whole time I was hearing fire alarms and police cars,” she said.

The D.C. Fire Department says the fire started in an underground transformer on 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. No one was hurt and fire crews and Pepco responded to the scene.

Firefighters put out the blaze and all previously evacuated buildings are back open.

“In a fire, in a crisis, in an emergency situation, you never know how severe it is until you’re able to do an assessment,” said A.J. Springer, Senior Public Relations Manager with American University.

AU Police advised students to meet on the main quad after the evacuation and are being directed to the East Campus.

The university sent out a series of text alerts to notify students.

“I think their ability to reach out to people via text rather than just the general public service announcements is probably the best way to do it because of its speed,” said Nicholas Gutowski, a sophomore at the university.

“We got all the emails at the same time, too,” Joy said, scrolling through her phone.

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“Thankfully, students are checking their email, they’re checking their text messages, so that is critical to maintaining the safety and normalcy of campus,” Springer said.

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