Fire Damages Memorial Union Theater

Monday, October 8, 2012 - 8:08am

A fire caused extensive damage this morning at the Memorial Union Theater on the UW-Madison campus. Firefighters were called to the scene at 7:38 am and arrived three minutes later. The first crew on the scene reported a large amount of smoke coming from the side and roof of the building. A second alarm was requested to bring additional firefighters and equipment to the scene.

Firefighters were told by construction workers that a fire had started near the ground level of the theater. The flames quickly traveled up the void space behind a wall and entered the large attic space above the theater. A fire crew entered the building and saw fire burning along the walls near the ceiling of the theater. They quickly extinguished the visible flames and began searching for access to the attic. Once an access door for the attic was located, firefighters pulled a hoseline up into the attic. They found a large amount of fire burning in the smoke filled attic. They extinguished all visible fire and began searching for any hot spots in the walls and ceiling of the attic.

Other firefighters, using aerial ladders, climbed onto the roof to make sure that all of the fire was extinguished in the roofing material. The fire was declared under control fifteen minutes after firefighters arrived on scene.

One firefighter became ill on the scene and was transported by paramedics to UW Hospital. UW Police Department is conducting the fire investigation and will release the fire cause and damage estimate.

Firefighters made a tremendous stop and prevented further damage to the building. Their access to the attic was limited to one door and moving around in the attic space required crawling on small walkways in heavy smoke conditions.

This is Fire Prevention Week and the Madison Fire Department encourages everyone to make their homes safe by taking these simple steps:
• Have working smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside the bedroom door, and on each level of the home.
• Test your smoke alarms each month.
• Make a home escape plan and practice it by having a home fire drill with everyone in your home.
o If the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Never go back inside for any reason.
o If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out.
o Call the fire department from outside your home.


  • Eric Dahl608-261-9845