Houston Fire Department responds to the fire alarm at the One Main Building, July 12, 2016.
Many are asking what exactly happened Tuesday, July 12, that caused UHD to evacuate the One Main Building and which brought the big response from the Houston Fire Department (HFD).
Yesterday afternoon, at approximately 2:45 p.m., a roofing contractor working on the roof replacement project on the south tower of the UHD One Main Building, caused a small, smoldering fire while using a blowtorch. The torch was being used as the contractor was installing a layer of roofing materials. The flames got up under a metal cap on the roof edge, coming into contact with some 2X4 pieces of lumber. The small fire was contained to the roof, but considerable smoke came into the One Main Building on its west end, primarily impacting the 9th and 10th floors.
The One Main Building's fire alarm system was activated by smoke detectors and the building ordered evacuated. HFD responded quickly and building occupants were moved to the portico on the east end of the One Main Building, where most remained until HFD gave the all-clear to re-enter a little over an hour after the evacuation.
We appreciated the quick and comprehensive responsive by HFD, the good work done by the UHD Police Department in coordinating with those first responders and managing the traffic-related challenges that ensued, and the patience and cooperative spirit displayed by all members of the UHD community as we worked through this incident.
As is always the case, there are lessons to be learned from such an experience. The UHD Emergency Management Board is gathering post-event observations and comments from key stakeholders, which will be captured and included in an after-action report to be developed in the coming weeks.
Vice President for Administration and Finance