Utility area near Carr’s Hill catches fire, extinguished quickly

Six units from the Charlottesville Fire Department, several U.Va. officials responded

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The Charlottesville City fire department responded to the incident and quickly extinguished the fire.  

Geremia Di Maro | Cavalier Daily

The Charlottesville Fire Department responded Monday evening to a fire in a below-ground utility space near the traditional home of the University president on Carr’s Hill. The fire was quickly extinguished.

At approximately 4:29 p.m., an alert was sent to the University community, stating that fire department personnel had been dispatched to a fire in the area of Carr’s Hill and urged those nearby to avoid the area. By 4:52 p.m., a follow-up message stated that the fire had been extinguished and added that there were no injuries reported. At 5:00 p.m., a final message was sent saying the incident had been cleared. 

Emily Pelliccia, a deputy CFD fire chief, said the fire was more challenging than most due to its below-ground location and recent snowfall — approximately four inches near the University.

"It's very challenging to get to because it's in a utility space that's actually below grade,” Pelliccia said. “There's some shoring set up to maintain the trench where it's located, but it is just challenging to get to. Also, with all the snow we've had recently, there's a lot of snow on the ground still up there, the ground is really soft and saturated, it's just presented a little bit of a challenge in terms of access. It's also pretty tight up here in terms of the location. This is our standard response, but everybody was needed for sure."

Six CFD units responded to the fire — two aerial apparatuses and four engines — as well as an ambulance, several police officers and a number of U.Va. staff members. Pelliccia added that the response was “standard.”

University Spokesman Anthony de Bruyn said while the fire occurred in a utility space on Carr’s Hill, it was not located near the University president’s house, which is currently under renovation and is expected to be completed by this summer. University President Jim Ryan currently resides in Pavilion VIII on the Lawn. 

De Bruyn said that he was not aware of any damage caused by the fire other than a piece of machinery in the affected utility space. He added that, to his knowledge, the ongoing renovations of the house would not be affected by the fire. 

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