FLINT TWP. – A small kitchen fire on Wednesday, February 15, at about 9:30 p.m., damaged one of the newly-renovated dorm suites at Baker Hall East on the Baker College-Flint campus off Bristol Road.
The second-floor fire was caused by a stovetop grease fire from cooking, said Mike Burkley, Flint Township assistant fire chief. It was contained to the room and controlled by the sprinkler system, he said. Power was shut off to parts of the building as a precaution because of water from the sprinkler system.
“This is a good example of the benefits of a sprinkler system,” said Burkley about a sprinkler system upgrade that was added to the building during a 2016 remodel. “If not for the sprinkler system, the smoke and fire damage would have been much more extensive,” he said.
The fire was extinguished before emergency personnel arrived and no injuries were reported, according to a press release.
While the building was being evaluated by safety professionals. all Baker Hall East residents were evacuated overnight and temporarily housed at Baker Hall West, according to a statement from Wen Hemingway, Baker College of Flint president.
Baker College also provided food for them. Most students were able to take a few personal belongings with them and all were allowed to reenter the dorm the following day to gather additional items.
As of Friday, February 17, all 46 residents of the dorm were cleared to move back to their rooms with the exception of the three who resided in the fire-damaged room. Those students have been moved to a new room. They also were the only students who incurred property damage. Because they do not have renters’ insurance, Baker College is covering their damaged goods and paying to have their linens professionally cleaned. No one else experienced any damages.
Because the fire activated the sprinkler system, most of the damage to the hall was caused by water.