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Pratt Institute fire

Pratt Institute fire

The Pratt Institute fire began early Friday morning.

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Flames shot into the night sky as a fire tore through the main building of the iconic Pratt Institute in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn Friday morning.

The fire broke out around 1:30 a.m. and  took firefighters about two hours to contain.

Retired police Detective  Sergeant Wally Zeins said fire investigators believe the fire cause was electrical in nature and may have been caused by something plugged into an outlet in the building.

Students in nearby dorms woke up to the sound of sirens and to the sight of their beloved school building burning.

Pratt Institute fire

The Pratt Institute fire began early Friday morning.

An untold number of student art projects inside were damaged or destroyed. The building is normally open to students around the clock.

The fire started, investigators say, on the sixth floor.

Sources tell PIX11 News there are no sprinkler systems on the six floor where the fire started.  There was no burglary, but apparently sources say a burglar alarm wire caught fire and tripped the alarm notifying security who then notified the fire department.

There were no major injuries, but two firefighters were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Fire investigators plan to interview students. The Pratt Institute said that classes in the Main Building and nearby South Hall were canceled Friday, and they will be on Saturday as well.


It was not the way some college students over at Pratt Institute expected to wake up – the sounds of fire engines battling a four-alarm blaze at the school’s main building.

“It was like a movie, the flames were huge, ” said Janet Lee.

When fire officials arrived, the sixth floor, which is home to the school’s Fine Arts Department, was completely engulfed in flames.    Fire officials say the floor consists of art studios and classrooms.   Part of the problem, the fact that the building is over a hundred years old, and made of mostly wood.

‘It is a very old building with very high ceilings, fifteen foot ceilings” says Chief James Esposito.  “There was a lot of overhauling and a partial roof collapse.”

The blaze took about two hours to be deemed under control.    By the time it was out, the art department was destroyed and much of the building suffered major water damage.

The good news in all of this was the fact that the building was closed to students and faculty for the night.   That meant no reported injuries to students, staff or firefighters.

However, fire officials do not have a cause and are calling this suspicious until they can determine where this began.

In the meantime, students are obviously shaken and sad to see some of their hard work, destroyed.

“I’m thinking about all the fine arts majors and all the work they just lost, the papers and paintings were just flying down in the wind,” said one student.