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Fire at 185 Nassau Street results in no injuries, minimal damage

185 Nassau Street, which houses the Visual Arts Program
Jaclyn Sweet / Lewis Center for the Arts

According to an email to Visual Arts students at 7:23 a.m. on Tuesday, April 26, there was a fire at 185 Nassau Street, which houses the Visual Arts (VIS) Program. Jeff Whetstone, the Director of the VIS Program, said in the email that no one was hurt and the “events scheduled in the building today should be able to proceed.” 

“I wanted to let you all know that there has been a fire at 185 Nassau this morning. No one has been hurt. The fire damage has been contained,” the email read. “Unless you are planning to attend [a] scheduled event, we request that you do not come to 185 today to allow clean-up work to proceed.”


Deputy University Spokesperson Mike Hotchkiss wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian that officials from the municipality deemed the fire “accidental.”

“The cause was likely discarded materials that were able to self-generate heat, igniting the combustibles in the can,” Hotchkiss added.

Hotchkiss also noted that the damage was contained to Room 202, an art studio where the fire began, as well as water damage in the basement through the second floor and the odor of smoke throughout the building.

“A little blaze can cause a big disruption,” Whetstone said in an interview with the ‘Prince.’ But he noted that the day ran pretty much as planned with classes and thesis critiques. “After an initial look at everything with the fire marshal, we operated normally, with a little extra smell,” he said.

VIS students received another email at 12:26 p.m. saying that the equipment cage in the building will be closed tonight, but Whetstone said that announcement was unrelated to the fire.

Whetstone reiterated that events and classes will continue in the building, and that the fire was minor and will not affect the rest of the semester.


Charlie Roth is a Staff News Writer and Assistant Data Editor for the ‘Prince,’ focusing on local town coverage. He can be reached at or @imcharlieroth on Twitter or Instagram.

Correction: A previous version of this articles headline stated that there was no damage caused by the fire, but there was, in fact some damage in the building. The Princeregrets this error.

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