By: Joshua Ceballos/News Director
Smoke could be seen coming out of a light pole on the northwest corner of the Riccardo Silva Football Stadium at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27, and passersby were steering clear of the fumes.
Student Media was on the scene as an electrical box on the light pole began to catch flame, and as FIU police officers arrived approximately two minutes after an emergency phone call was made. Along with the fumes, sparking electrical noises could be heard from the box.
Police placed caution tape across Southwest 17 Street on either side of the pole, next to gate 10 of the stadium, and stopped ongoing traffic to ensure no one was too close to the source of the smoke. Traffic was redirected throughout the duration of the investigation by police officers on the scene.
FIU Police Department Chief Alexander Casas told Student Media that the stadium was evacuated once police arrived, meaning that band members and football players practicing inside had to leave while the situation was assessed. Power to the stadium was also cut, as the cause of the fire was likely electrical according to Casas.
“The electrical box sparked, flamed up, and smoked up and as a precaution University Facilities cut power… power’s still out to that pole but it’s back on in the rest of the stadium, and it’s a safe environment as of 7:30 p.m.,” said Casas.
It is unknown at this time what exactly caused the electrical malfunction in the box.
An FIU alert was put out at 7:16 p.m. warning community members to stay away from the area, and an all clear was sent out at 7:33 p.m.