The front of Melville library after a small fire broke out at the building’s Starbucks. The fire has since been quelled, but the library remains closed throughout the day. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

A small fire broke out in Starbucks at Melville Library on Friday morning. The fire was put out quickly, but smoke filled the library.

The fire broke out while students prepared for Roth Regatta on the other side of campus. Tours for potential students walked by the cordoned off library, expecting they’d get to see the inside.

Starbucks employee Fiona Ripp put out the fire as fast as she could.

“We were standing near the fridge, and then we saw blue flames,” Ripp said.

Ripp promptly grabbed a fire extinguisher, inhaling some of its output in the process.

“I held my breath and put the fire out,” she said.

Neither Ripp nor her coworkers were harmed in the brief fire. Ripp says that Starbucks’ refrigerator caused the fire.

“When we came to work this morning, the fridge wasn’t working,” she said. “It was warm. So we unplugged it, then plugged it back in.”


Police have blocked off the library with yellow tape. An officer declined to speak to The Statesman.

Melville Library will be closed for the rest of the day, according to an email send to the student body.

This is a breaking news story. The Statesman will provide updates as they become available. 


Christine Kelley is The Statesman’s opinions editor and a senior journalism major. She also holds an Associate’s degree in Creative Writing. When she’s not editing The Statesman’s op-eds, Christine blogs about Hobbits and geography at Eruditorum Press.


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