3am this morning, the main building of my school, Pratt Institute, was engulfed in flames, destroying hundreds of students artwork and wrecking the historic buildings.
This is so horrifying and deeply saddening.
Official word from Pratt’s President:
Dear Members of the Pratt Community,
As most of you know, early this morning a serious fire broke out in Main Building. Fortunately, there were no injuries among our students, faculty, and staff. The fire destroyed the roof and the 6th floor of the building and caused significant smoke and water damage to the 5th floor. All of the floors below the 5th also have water damage. The cause of the fire remains under investigation and at this time there is no indication as to any specific cause, despite press reports that may indicate otherwise.
Emergency text and email messages were sent early this morning to all students, faculty, and staff to let them know about the fire and of the cancellation of classes in both Main and South buildings. South Building did not sustain any damage, but a power shutdown in Main affects the power in South. Our hope is that South Building power will be restored over the weekend. A campus-wide notification regarding classes and studios for this Monday, February 18 in both Main and South will be sent over the weekend as soon as updates become available. I encourage all students, faculty, and staff who have not done so to subscribe to our alert system on my.pratt.edu.
Our administrative and academic leadership team is developing a short-term plan to relocate all offices and operations housed from the basement through the 4th floor of Main Building. The offices of the President and Provost will relocate temporarily to 219 North Hall as of Tuesday, February 15. Longer-term plans are being developed to accommodate classes, studios, and other operations that had been located on the 5th and 6th floors of Main.
Details on both the short and long-term relocation plans will be sent to those affected no later than Tuesday, February 19. We appreciate your patience as we consider the best possible options for our students, faculty, and staff.
The Pratt homepage also will be updated as soon as more details become available. In the meantime, students should contact Student Affairs through the Office of Residential Life at 718-399-4551 with any urgent questions. Faculty and staff should contact their department chairs and supervisors.
Our hearts go out to those students who lost precious artwork as a result of this tragic incident. Officials from the Institute will be advising them on an individual basis. In addition, our Health and Counseling Services office personnel is available to those who may need support or assistance.
We are grateful to the efforts of the New York City Fire Department to get the fire under control as quickly as possible and to all of those on the ground at Pratt who were able to provide assistance throughout the early morning. We have received an outpouring of support from the community both inside and outside of Pratt for which I also am extraordinarily grateful.
Finally, I’d like to sincerely thank our emergency team and everyone else who has pulled together during this difficult time to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to minimize the damage to our campus, to develop appropriate contingency plans, and to support our students who may have been affected by this unfortunate incident.
Thomas F. Schutte
President, Pratt Institute