BREAKING: At least 9 cars damaged in East Garage fire
UPDATE: 6:00 p.m.: The University began letting students move their cars out of the garage at 5:20 p.m. Students were directed by University officials to move their cars away from the scene of the fire on the fourth floor.
Students could smell a strong chemical smell near the fire and black ash covered the fourth floor and cars nearby. Supply chain management senior Simon Tieu car was five cars away from the area of cars that were burnt. His car was covered in ash and said he felt lucky with his vehicle unaffected.
“I feel bad for the truck and everyone else,” Tieu said. “I hope everything gets settled fairly.”
UPDATE 3:47 p.m.: At least nine vehicles were visibly damaged by the fire in the East Garage on Thursday, UH spokesperson Mike Rosen said. It will be closed through at least Sunday.
No one from UH was injured, Rosen said. One HFD firefighter was admitted to a hospital with minor injuries, a source familiar with the situations said.
The Houston Fire Department is continuing to investigate the cause of the fire, which is currently unknown. When HFD finishes its investigation, students whose cars are parked away from the site of the fire will be escorted to their cars in small groups and allowed to leave, Rosen said.
A few of the cars are severely damaged, some to the extent that the license plates have melted and are unreadable, Rosen said. The University is attempting to notify the owners of damaged cars when possible, he said.
The University of Houston sign that faces Spur 5 marks the site of the fire, on the ramp from the third to fourth levels of the garage.
All students holding an East Garage permit may park in any ungated lot, including both faculty and student, until the garage re-opens.
When HFD finishes its investigation, all cars parked in the garage will need to be moved. Then, structural engineers will evaluate damage to the garage itself. When it’s all clear to enter, students may begin to park in East Garage again.
1:50 p.m.: Two cars in the East Garage caught fire Thursday afternoon.
No one was injured, and by 1:45 p.m. the Houston Fire Department put out the flames.
Students with parking permits for the East Garage were unable to enter the garage, but firefighters on the scene said shortly after the fire was out that it would be soon safe to enter.
The fire originated with one car on the third floor but quickly spread to another, said H.P. Gonzales of HFD.
Students will be notified via UH Alert when it’s safe to enter the garage, a UH spokesperson said.
This story will be updated as we hear more.