The Lab contracts with the Alameda County Fire Department (ACFD) to have first responders on site for any type of emergency incident. While the trucks might go on several false alarm calls in a month, the call of “fire” is one that starts the adrenaline pumping. The Lab, sitting on 200 acres of wildland, is always ripe for a wildfire that can cause serious damage to the Lab and to the community.
Last week the fire department responded to a fire alarm system notification about a fire at Building 77A. The fire was a burning cigarette urn outside of the building. The most likely scenario for the cause of the fire was trash or accumulated cigarette butts in the urn, with a still burning or smoldering butt tossed in. That was enough to cause a fire.
Luckily, deputy building manager Gabor Paulovits was leaving for the day, saw the fire, and pulled the nearest fire alarm box. He then used a portable fire extinguisher to put out the fire. The county firefighters responded to ensure the fire was out and that the fire had not spread to the building. The damage was scorched paint and one melted urn, with some limited damage to the asphalt below the urn.
For smokers, use the pavement to make sure the material is fully extinguished. Then pick up that cigarette butt and place it in the smoking urn. If you see a fire, even a small one like this one in the smoking urn, call 911. ALWAYS CALL 911 FIRST.
If there is a fire extinguisher nearby and you know how to use it, and you feel it is safe to do so, you can attempt to put out the fire after notifying the fire department by calling 911.