Fire Damages Practice Facility’s Roof
Black smoke billowed from U.Va.’s George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility Monday afternoon from a fire on the roof. Here’s what we officially know about the incident.
The fire started around 12:30 p.m., sparked by a cutting torch being wielded from underneath. The roof consists of a metal deck, then insulation, then a rubber membrane, over which a metal roof is to be installed. The insulation and rubber are what burned.
All Charlottesville Fire Department units responded. Burning debris fell on the blue field hockey surface next door, but firefighters kept spraying it with water as a precaution. The fire was out by 2 p.m. No injuries were reported. That’s the good news.
Officials will evaluate the steel structure to see of anything needs to be repaired. We’re awaiting word on the damage estimate and whether the timeline for the completion of the facility will be affected. The project is, of course, insured.
Just last month, the Board of Visitors approved the naming of the facility for Welsh, the much respected former U.Va. football coach. The facility, projected to cost between $11 million and $13 million, covers about 78,000 square feet. Construction started in May, and is to be completed in February. It’s about half done right now, according to a Facilities Management website.
Update, 4:12 p.m.: Local photographer Eric Kelley quickly went aloft and posted this photo showing damage to a small portion of the roof.