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Smoke in basement empties Riggs Hall at Evangel University

Published on Apr 9, 2013 by Paul K. Logsdon

SPRINGFIELD, MO — Nearly a hundred Evangel University employees and students emptied The Ralph M. Riggs Administration Building just before noon today (Tuesday, April 9, 2013) when fire alarms sounded throughout the building.

Six units from the Springfield Fire Department responded to the campus on North Glenstone Ave. Fire fighters found smoke filling the first floor mechanical room.

Fire Department personnel were able to isolate the problem and ventilate the building quickly.

“The smoke was caused by the failure of a large electric motor in the main mechanical room,” said Tom Keltner, director of the physical plant for Evangel.

The motor runs the exhaust fan that circulates air to every restroom in the building. According to Keltner, it should be replaced this afternoon, if parts are available in town.

“We would like to thank Capt. Tim Gerkey and his men for their quick response, detailed investigation, and quick resolution to the problem,” said Keltner.

Capt. Gerkey was assisted by David Park, Eric Jones and the men of Station Three.


As soon as the alarm went off, Evangel University’s Public Safety personnel made sure the building was empty.

“We are pleased that the systems Evangel University has installed worked as designed,” said Lt. Andy Englert. “We appreciate the quick response from the majority of the staff and students in clearing the building.”

Fire officials allowed employees to return to their offices before 1 p.m.

For additional photos, please visit Evangel University’s Official Page on Facebook:

Evangel is a private, Christian university of arts, sciences and professions that offers more than 100 undergraduate academic programs and nine master’s programs. Evangel has more than 2,000 students enrolled from all 50 states and abroad.


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