February 8, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 41°F


Small fire started at Dec. 4 concert in Emerson Suites

A fire broke out at a concert around 8 p.m. Dec. 4 at Ithaca College in Emerson Suites.

According to a press release from Lieutenant Thomas Basher, the cause of the fire was an electrical arc from an outlet to a metal zipper on a guitar case backstage.

Sophomore Luke Harbur was selling merchandise and escorting people to their seats at the concert for the a capella group Premium Blend when he was made aware of the fire by an audience member who noticed the smoke.  

“I didn’t think about that because being in Ithacappella, we have like fogs and hazers, so I thought it was some kind of special effect thing on hold,” Harbur said. “But then I really looked at it close. The curtains were slightly not as thick right in the middle, and then it’s really thick to the point of being black, so in the small crevice, there was the fire.”

Harbur went backstage with another student to check out the fire, and once he realized how serious it was, he went onstage and notified the audience members what was happening, and they evacuated.

Senior Maddy Clark was waiting for the concert to start with her friends when she heard there was a fire.

“All of a sudden, everyone in the row started getting up, and someone comes on and says, ‘There’s a fire. Everyone needs to get out right now,’” Clark said. “We looked back, and there was this little fire behind the curtain, so of course me and my friends are like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s gonna get the curtain.’ I’m glad they took care of it pretty quickly.”

Another student put out the fire with an extinguisher while the people were filing out the emergency exit doors.

Premium Blend and the audience members moved the concert to the Athletics and Events Center, where the show continued.

The Ithaca College Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management, along with the Ithaca Fire Department, responded to the incident and ensured that the fire was out and no one was injured.


Ana Borruto can be reached at aborruto@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @anaborruto