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Backpack fire in Boelter Hall causes evacuations, no injuries reported

Boelter Hall, pictured. Hundreds of students evacuated the building after a backpack caught on fire in a bioengineering class. (Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)

By Shaanth Kodialam

Jan. 18, 2023 7:08 p.m.

A backpack caught on fire in a Boelter Hall classroom Wednesday, causing hundreds of students throughout the building to evacuate. 

Around 12:30 p.m., a backpack began to catch fire in Boelter Hall room 5249, where a bioengineering class was taking place, said Jeeth Pawar, a third-year bioengineering student in the class. Students in Boelter evacuated soon after, and an alarm later began to sound, he said, adding that some smoke began to seep into the hallways.

In an emailed statement, UCLA Fire confirmed the backpack was the source of the fire, but the exact cause remains unclear and is currently under investigation. UCLA Fire said it responded to an alarm activation in Boelter, and evacuation was already in progress as they arrived. However, building management was able to put the fire out before officials arrived on site, according to the statement.

Damages are being evaluated, but no injuries have been reported.

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Shaanth Kodialam | News senior staff
Kodialam is a News senior staff reporter for the Bruin. They were previously the 2022-2023 features and student life editor and a 2021-2022 News reporter for national news and higher education and features and student life. They are a third-year communication and geography student.
Kodialam is a News senior staff reporter for the Bruin. They were previously the 2022-2023 features and student life editor and a 2021-2022 News reporter for national news and higher education and features and student life. They are a third-year communication and geography student.
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