Fire leads to evacuation at Illini Union

Local News

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A fire at a campus landmark caused a full evacuation Thursday morning. But, firefighters say they were lucky it didn’t cause much more than that.

It happened at the Illini Union about 6:15 am.

“When I got the call this morning, you know, everybody’s thinking about Notre Dame and I thought the Union is the most iconic building on our campus. To think about it somehow being gone was just horrifying.”

The fire happened in the Einstein Bagel Shop, just as Guillermo Vazquez was supposed to come in and open the store.

“I went downstairs and I see a lot of smoke coming from Einstein’s. It was mostly Einstein’s, not like the whole basement.”

The basement was shut down for hours as crews cleaned up smoke and water, but the fire itself only took crews minutes. When the smoke cleared, Kaler says she’s grateful this was the only damage to see.

“It was really a relief that the fire had been out by the time I could get dressed and come over here.”

She says it’s because of quick work, a reliable sprinkler system and sound structure that the fire wasn’t worse. Just last week, the Einstein’s in Urbana had to deal with disaster when a car crashed through the window.

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