Three alarm fire on campus of Ringling College of Art and Design

- Around lunch time, you can smell the grounds of coffee brewing at Shelf Indulgence Used Book Boutique, but something else caught Donna Frey's attention on Tuesday.

"I walked out the back door and saw there was thick black smoke in the back of the building," she said.

Frey and other store owners noticed smoke surrounding Ringling College of Art and Design.

"First I was concerned for people's safety, of course knowing it's a college campus," she said.

The smoke filled U.S 41 and traffic came to a crawl.

"I walked out and saw the flames shooting and was like, 'Oh my gosh,'" said Dr. Larry Thompson.

President of Ringling College of Art and Design Dr. Larry Thompson was among the first to see the fire.

"It  was a very large blaze, to say the least, and a lot of smoke," he said.

Luckily, it's spring break and many students are away. This fire started on the roof of the new visual arts center, which is still under construction.

"They had a bunch of roofing materials delivered in pallet formation and placed it on the roof. That is flammable materials," said Fire Chief Michael Reginer.

It took firefighters about half an hour to put it out.

"The only thing we were concerned about was the material itself, and any of the debris that was falling off in the wind direction, on the one story building right next door," said Chief Reginer. 

School officials say the building should still be opened by summer. 

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Three alarm fire on campus of Ringling College of Art and Design
  • Florida schools can cut back year by 2 days due to storm
  • Irma causes erosion on Pinellas Co. beaches
  • Sarasota teen not heard from since before Irma
  • Former counselor takes gamble on child porn plea deal
  • Train hits homeless man on railroad tracks in Lakeland
  • Friends united by tragedy remeber 9/11 16 years later
  • Shelter opened for Withlacoochee River evacuees
  • Construction begins for USF Health facilities in downtown Tampa
  • Out-of-town linemen receive send-off in Lakeland