Fire at UA’s Moody Music Building ruled accidental, caused by lightning strike

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The latest on the Moody Music Hall building fire at the University of Alabama

April 20, 2020

7 p.m.

Authorities have released the cause of the fire of the Moody Music Hall building at the University of Alabama.

Sunday’s fire at the University building was accidental and caused by a lightning strike from Sunday’s storms, according to Alabama State Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen.

2 p.m.

After 17 hours of battling the blaze, Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue crews were able to extinguish the fire in the roof of the Moody Music Building Monday morning.

Due to Sunday’s weather conditions, access to the roof was limited, but after monitoring the weather and reassessing the situation, crews were able to find that the fire was located in the roofing of the system. Crews then cut six inches from the peak of the roof to access the location of the fire, Tuscaloosa Fire reports.

The fire was declared ‘out’ at 9:22 a.m. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and is still currently under investigation, Tuscaloosa Fire reports.

The department was able to mitigate damage and salvage many valuable assets from the building.

The University of Alabama band director released the following statement.

The University of Alabama is grateful for the quick and effective actions of the Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue Service, the UA Police Department and UA facilities staff in response to a fire that began Sunday at Moody Music Building. Crews worked tirelessly to contain the fire on the roof of the building despite hazardous weather conditions. 

The cause of the blaze and the extent of the damage are still unknown. The fire appeared shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday in the roofing on the south wing west side of the building, home to the Million Dollar Band. Because the fire was in the roofing system, it is likely there is significant smoke and water damage. 

The State Fire Marshall will conduct a thorough assessment in the coming days.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Fire crews are engaged with a fire at the music building on University of Alabama’s (UA) campus, local authorities confirm.

Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue (TFR) crews were alerted to a fire at UA’s Moody Music Building at 4:10 p.m. Sunday, according to TFR public information officer, Holly Whigham. University of Alabama Police officers responded as well, school officials say.

Smoke seen from CBS 42’s DCH Tower Cam in Tuscaloosa (CBS 42)

There have been no reports of injuries, and the cause of the fire remains unconfirmed. There is no fire in the interior of the building, only in the roof foam insulation, according to TFR Chief Randy Smith. He says firefighters are unable to directly access the roof due to the danger posed by possible storms.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox took to Twitter Sunday evening with news that most of the instruments and uniforms were able to be saved from the building.

Mayor Maddox says that he will continue to be updated hourly be on-site crew members.

There is not yet an estimate on the damage to the building. Four fire crews are working to protect band uniforms and instruments from the flames.

Authorities called in additional personnel to assist in the three-alarm fire.


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