07/11/11 — Light fixture catches fire at Goldsboro YMCA Saturday

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Light fixture catches fire at Goldsboro YMCA Saturday

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 11, 2011 1:46 PM

The actions of an observant patron at the Goldsboro Family Y might have prevented extensive damage when a fire broke out Sunday afternoon.

Gregory Brown, a reading teacher at North Drive Elementary School, said he was on the upper walking track when he noticed a "strange smell" he likened to a "medical or electrical burn." Initially no one in the vicinity appeared concerned so he continued with his workout.

As he made his way around the track, though, he said he noticed a hanging light fixture above the basketball court ceiling "shooting out large flames" and began running to alert staff to evacuate the building.

"The firefighters came to put out the fire, which, luckily, did not spread beyond the fixture," Brown said. "Some sort of transformer had blown out, causing the flames. The smoke detectors had not picked up the trail yet because of the lamp's position, which was not a good thing. They said the fire was just a few feet away from a big batch of insulation which could have been disastrous, especially if the burning material had fallen on the heavily varnished gym floor. It could have all gone up very quickly."

The incident happened between 2 and 2:30 p.m., said John Richards, executive director of the Y.

"The electrician is coming out this morning to take a look at the connection for the gym light," he said. "It was one of the metal Hallide lightbulbs. From what I know from our folks, it was just sparking so they immediately turned off the electricity. The fire department disconnected the entire fixture."

A Goldsboro Fire Department report estimated the damages from smoke at about $2,500.