United States

American University Dorms Evacuated After Transformer Fire Fills Air With Smoke

Smoke could be seen billowing around several residential buildings

What to Know

  • Students on American University's main campus were told to leave their buildings Saturday morning due to the fire.
  • A transformer fire outside a residential hall caused the blaze, D.C. Fire said.
  • No injuries were reported.

American University students were forced to leave their dorm buildings on the main campus Saturday morning after a transformer fire filled the air with smoke.

Occupants of two residential buildings on Massachusetts Avenue NW, Leonard and Hughes halls, were told to leave the area before 7 a.m. Soon after, nearby McDowell hall was evacuated.

Smoke billowed around that block of buildings, News4 photos show. American University Police reported smoke inside buildings.

D.C. Fire and EMS said the fire was under control about two hours later.

After firefighters cleared the scene, buildings on the south end of campus were reopened. 

An underground transformer fire caused the blaze, D.C. Fire and EMS said. Pepco was called to the scene and shut down power.

Video posted by student newspaper The Eagle shows flames burning near trees outside Hughes Hall, sending plumes of black smoke into the air.

No injuries were reported.

Buildings were being assessed for reoccupation and the school was working out a food plan by 10:30 a.m., university officials said. Classes on the main campus were canceled. 

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