Emily Hartford, Alyssa Spirato and Harris Zeliff contributed to this story
The Thomas G. Carpenter library was evacuated and closed Thursday, Nov. 18 after a fire broke out in the 2nd floor men’s handicap bathroom, causing the bathroom to flood and cause water damage.
The library’s alarms went off around 5:30 to 5:45 p.m. and library employees began evacuating students outside. Jacksonville Fire Rescue arrived at 6:18 p.m.
Sarah Philips, Director of Public Services for the library, said the employees notified UPD immediately as evacuations were taking place.
Library student supervisor Elizabeth Georges said someone intentionally lit a fire in the handicap stall of the men’s bathroom in a trash can. The fire caused a water leak out of the bathroom onto the second floor.
The second floor smelled like burning rubber, Georges said.
The staff began covering the computers on the first and second floors with plastic coverings. Many of the computers on the second floor were already wet from the water.
Employees began to use trashcans to catch water coming from the second floor through the ceiling.
Georges said there was approximately three inches of water on the second floor and one inch of water on the first floor.
Several students left personal items in the library during the evacuation. Business Management senior Andrew Meehan said he forgot his skateboard on the third floor when the alarms went off. Library employees went in one by one to retrieve items for students.
Meehan said he spends approximately three to four hours in the library studying when he is on campus. He has a 45 minute to an hour-long commute to campus from Middleburg, Fla.
“The library is where I do 99 percent of my studying,” Meehan said. “It is going to put a huge damper on [my studying].”