A “pretty good-sized” fire broke out on Channel Islands Road last Friday after an excavator digging in the area sprung a hydraulic leak, campus fire marshal Chris Wiesen said.
Wiesen said the construction apparatus caught fire behind Corwin Pavilion around 9:25 a.m. and was contained within 10 minutes. Three Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. trucks arrived at the scene and used 440 gallons of water to extinguish the fire.
The equipment failure occurred as the excavator was burrowing to install a new storm drain pipeline for the campus Infrastructure Renewal Project — an ongoing plan to modernize the university’s public works infrastructure.
Wiesen said the excavator was put out with a fire-fighting water solution that needs to be carefully cleaned up.
“That water is contaminated with hydraulic fluid,” Wiesen said. “They have to do a soil remediation. Environmental Health & Safety is taking care of it.”
Wiesen also said this type of aparatus failure is extremely common and can happen to any piece of equipment.