Library evacuated due to small fire

Published 8:50 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Morgan Memorial Library was evacuated briefly Wednesday morning due to a small fire in the shrubbery and mulch near the front entrance, according to a city press release.

The fire was reported at 11:37 a.m. A Suffolk Police Department officer doused the flames with a fire extinguisher prior to the arrival of Suffolk Fire and Rescue crews.

Patrons and employees were able to re-enter the building at 1:12 p.m., according to the release. There was no damage to the building or smoke inside the building, and there were no injuries.

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The press release states the cause of the fire is under investigation.

In addition, Suffolk Fire and Rescue crews responded just after 4 p.m. to a small brush fire in the 300 block of Bidwell Street, near the intersection of Dill and County streets.

Battalion Chief David Harrell said the fire was confined to a grassy area less than a half-acre in size, according to a city press release. A power pole was slightly affected. There were no injuries.

The Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the cause.

In a separate press release, the Virginia Department of Forestry noted that escalated fire weather conditions were present Wednesday and will continue Thursday due to strong, dry winds, above normal temperatures and low relative humidity.

“Care should be used when considering any outdoor activities that could lead to an accidental fire start,” said John Miller, director of resource protection for the Virginia Department of Forestry.

The forestry department urged citizens to postpone outdoor burning until conditions improve; avoid outdoor activity that may cause a spark; dispose of smoking materials properly, not tossing them out of a car window or into a pile of mulch outside a building; avoid parking or idling a vehicle in tall, dry grass; and avoid setting hot chainsaws or other hot, gas-powered equipment in dry grass.