No one injured in fire

Sean Joseph

Power Plant fire causes Summit Street closing

Firefighters from the Kent Fire Department prepare to saw through part of the Power Plant’s roof yesterday morning after the steam stack was reportedly overheated. Flames were said to be seen during the early stages of the fire, but there was no exterior

Credit: Sean Joseph

Flames rose off the Power Plant roof yesterday morning about 8:30, causing officials to close Summit Street for about three hours, but there were no injuries.

Excess heat from a smokestack on top of the building caused rubber and decomposing insulation in the roof to catch fire, said Chief James Williams of the Kent Fire Department.

Damage estimates were not yet known, Williams said, but evidence of smoke and flames could be seen around one of the smokestacks that carries steam out of the building.

A similar incident occurred Monday with the same smokestack, but the fire was on a smaller scale, Williams said. He did not think the two fires were related.

“It’s too early to tell what needs to be done at this point,” Williams said. The Power Plant “is going to have to work with an engineer.”

A ladder truck led up to the smokestacks where about a half dozen fire fighters opened up the roof to remove all the burning and flammable material from the area, Williams said.

Summit Street was blocked off from the Ted Boyd Drive by the Student Wellness and Recreation Center to the end of the parking lot by the Math and Science Building.

“The nice thing about it is that it’s Sunday morning, and we just routed people through the parking lot,” said Lt. Paula Rossi of the Kent State Police Department.

People passing by gathered across the street to watch the fire crews.

Steve Barlock, who was visiting from Muskingum College, said he saw big flames inside the Power Plant as well as on the roof.

“We were out enjoying the beautiful day, and it’s a shame this had to happen,” said Beth Doran from Brunswick, who is visiting Kent for her son’s baseball tournament. “I thought it was a drill and had no idea what was going on.”

Contact safety reporter Sean Joseph at [email protected].