Lightning likely cause of large Tuskegee Univ. fire

Viewer Photo: Buddy Baker
Viewer Photo: Buddy Baker

TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - A fire that started on the campus of Tuskegee University caused serious damage to the large West Commons apartments, a dormitory-style building.

The Little Texas Fire Department and the Tuskegee Fire Department remained on the scene late in the evening to fight flare ups and small fires.

Large oranges flames and thick, black smoke rolled out of the roof of the dorm Thursday afternoon. As the smoke cleared, photos showed the roof nearly gone from much of the building.

Tuskegee University officials said the fire started at Commons C just before 5:00pm and said investigators believe lightning from the day's thunderstorms are the likely cause.

Firefighters from numerous departments including Franklin, VA Hospital, Reeltown, District 3, Cheeha, Little Texas, Shorter, and Tuskegee fought the blaze.

The multi-story brick building is described as a 72-bed, dormitory-style building. Three students lived in the building during the summer session but were not in the complex when the fire started. The university said it is working to find immediate housing for all the affected students.

SLIDESHOW: Tuskegee University fire

A graduate student named Ashley Watson was in the engineering building next door when she found out about the fire. She got her friend, Yaseen Farooq, to use his cell phone camera to capture video of the flames.

Tuskegee University, a private system, did not allowing media on campus.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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