Fire on Texas Tech Campus Near Jones Stadium

LUBBOCK, TX - Firefighters battled smoke on the Texas Tech campus near Jones AT&T Stadium, after construction materials caught fire Wednesday evening. Heavy smoke was visible for miles. 

Robert Giovannetti of Texas Tech Athletics confirmed there was a small fire on top of the roof of the sports performance center on the Texas Tech campus. 

"No injuries were reported and the small fire was contained," said Allison Matherly, Coordinater of Digital Engagement for Texas Tech.

Michael Molina, Vice Chancellor Facilities Planning and Construction for the TTU System, said their workers were welding on the top roof and a small piece of hot metal went down to the lower roof where new roofing materials were being added. 

The lower roof then ignited rubber roofing material, which caused the black smoke, Molina said.

Molina explained that two crew members dedicated to "fire watch" were not able to get to the fire before it was smoldering and then into a flame.

Molina said, "Right now we're actually assessing the damage as we speak. Obviously the roofing material is damaged but it was never laid down and actually installed. So there's zero loss time that. We're going to have to check the steel deck just to make sure that everything is okay there. We'll know that by noon tomorrow (Thursday), 5:00 p.m. tomorrow worst case."

"I've seen some crazy stuff being a college campus but never seen a fire like that," said Texas Tech student Jacob Armitage.

"I was working on a paper and i look up for just a split second and i just see a small black cloud over the Jones. I watched it for a second and it just grew and grew," he said.

Molina went on to say, "Fortunately all protocol was followed to a "T." All of our safety precautions were accurate, nothing egregious or done inappropriately. The wind caught a piece of slag and fell 50 or 60 feet below that. The two fire spotters saw it and just before they could get there the smolder turned into a flame thus the smoke."

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