A small fire broke out at University Cottage Club around 8 p.m. on Monday evening. The situation has been resolved and no injuries have been reported.
By 8:15 p.m., at least four fire engines and several police cars crowded Prospect Avenue, as firefighters operated a crane extended over the roof of the mansion. A fire hose, unrolled onto the ground, pointed through the open door of Cottage. Several Cottage members stood together on the sidewalk and waited for the all clear.
Firefighters told The Daily Princetonian that they were first alerted by the Cottage fire alarm and that additional responders were notified after smoke was reported at the scene.
“As soon as they found out there was a smoke condition, they upgraded the call,” said a firefighter. “It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”
Responders included firefighters from Princeton, Plainsboro, and Kendall Park, as well as members of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) Fire Department and the Princeton Police Department. A sole Princeton police car, positioned at the intersection with Washington Road, blocked traffic from entering Prospect Ave.
“Everybody here but them,” said the firefighter, gesturing at the PPPL fire engine, “we’re all volunteers.” He explained that the volunteer departments regularly respond to calls in the local area, not just those in their own municipality.
The source of the fire remains unclear. One first responder stated that he heard “a fireplace” was involved in the blaze, but admitted that he “[didn’t] know the full story.”
Following the incident, Cottage President Jamie Denham ’20 had a different explanation, as well as a positive message for his fellow members.
“A couple wires caught fire in the basement, but all is good,” Denham said. “The house did not burn down.”