This is a developing story. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.
A small brush fire started outside Dane Smith Hall shortly after 9 p.m. last night. The fire damaged the side of the building and several small bushes. The flames were contained at a gravel area on the northeast side of the building.
There did not appear to be any other substantial damage.
According to UNMPD, police were dispatched at 9:11 p.m. after reports that a bush was set ablaze by Dane Smith Hall. The Albuquerque Fire Department will be spearheading investigation.
Initially the building appeared to be in flames, according to student witness Octavio Perez
“At first it looked like the building was on fire,” said Perez, who was alerted of the incident through social media around 9 p.m. He and a group of other students arrived prior to officials, he said.
They began recording the incident with their phones. In the videos, large flames and smoke plumes can be seen.
“The flames were very big. They were as big as me at one point,” he said. Perez reported UNMPD promptly began combatting the flame using fire extinguishers.
“It seemed under control by the time the police and fire department got there,” he said, adding, “It happened so fast.”
Plans have been made to restore the area, according to a representative from the Physical Plant Department.
Once cleared by UNM Police, the Physical Plant Department will cut damaged bushes, remove charred material and install mulch, said Willie West, a grounds and landscaping manager. The department will also ensure there has been no damage to the irrigation system.
“The rosemary plants should grow back,” West said. “but if not, we will replace them.”
Brendon Gray is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @notgraybrendon.