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Smoldering needles and leaves trigger fire search at WSU |

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Smoldering needles and leaves trigger fire search at WSU

There was no fire, but crews weren't taking any chances at WSU Monday.

Here's the news release from the Pullman Fire Department:

The smell of burning wood in the Stephenson Main Complex on the Washington State University campus Monday morning triggered an employee to pull the fire alarm and that brought a full response from firefighters.

Crews from Pullman and Whitman County Rural District 12 responded to the alarm that came in at 5:16 am.   The main unit houses offices, meeting rooms and dining services, near Stadium Way and Olympia Avenue.  No dorm rooms were affected.

The smell was apparent on entering the main complex but firefighters and WSU police officers spent the next two hours searching room by room, while other firefighters examined the roof area but no source could be found.

As WSU housing crews were removing snow a little later they found the likely cause.  Operations chief Mike Heston said someone apparently dropped a cigarette into a metal grate near the ventilation system.  There were some old leaves and pine needles in the area that smoldered and the smell was carried into the building.  Crews cleaned up the area and the odor disappeared.


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