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Cause of fire near LaFortune under investigation

Madeline Buckley | Monday, August 31, 2009

The cause of the fire in a utility tunnel under the area near LaFortune Student Center Friday morning is still under investigation, according to University spokesman Dennis Brown.

“There will be work over the next few days on a variety of things – repairing cable television connections, phone and Internet,” Brown said.

The fire was reported around 8:15 a.m. Friday and was extinguished around 10:45 a.m.

LaFortune Student Center and several surrounding buildings, including dormitories, were evacuated during the time.

St. Edward’s Hall, St. Liam Hall, Nieuwland Science, Cavanaugh Hall, Stepan Chemistry, Breen Phillips Hall and Farley Hall were among the evacuated buildings.

A University employee was treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation, but was released the same day.

Brown said the fire affected Internet, telephone and cable services in 36 buildings on campus, and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) has been working over the weekend to restore the services.

Network access has been restored in most campus buildings but OIT is still working to restore landline services.

Landline and network service in affected campus buildings will not be fully restored until the end of the day Wednesday, according to the OIT Web site.

Brown said cell phone service has been restored, but AT&T users might see degraded service when using the phones near the Main Building.

University President Fr. John Jenkins thanked students, faculty, staff and emergency personnel in an e-mail to the Notre Dame community Friday.

Jenkins noted the quick response of Notre Dame, Clay Township and South Bend fire departments and thanked students and faculty for evacuating the buildings quickly and calmly.

“It is in times of crisis that I am reminded why the Notre Dame community is so special,” he said in the e-mail.