Broken fire sprinkler causes Wilkinson Student Center to be evacuated

BYU students, faculty, staff and FSY attendees walk back into the Wilkinson Student Center after being evacuated on Tuesday morning. (Andrea Zapata)

Students, faculty, staff and FSY attendees were forced to evacuate the Wilkinson Student Center when the building’s fire alarms went off at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

According to Wilkinson Student Center general manager Chad Brimley, there was no fire and the alarms went off because a fire sprinkler was hit and broken. The break happened at one of the building’s construction sites at what was The Wall, a restaurant venue which closed in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. That site is under construction to become the new Career Services office.

“One of our painters accidentally hit a fire sprinkler and pulled it off,” Brimley said. “If a fire sprinkler ever has water that goes through it, the smoke detectors are also designed to sense that and trigger the fire alarm system in the building.”

The fire alarm going off required the building’s personnel to evacuate students, faculty, staff and FSY counselors and participants who were in the building on Tuesday morning.

“Even though we diverted Provo City and we let them know that everything was under control, we had to clean up the mess because when you break a fire sprinkler, the water just keeps coming out until a technician can turn off the valve,” Brimley said.

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