On Dec. 14 at 10:33 a.m., the Kenyon community received Kenyon College email alert about an electrical fire at Cromwell Cottage — the official presidential residence — which, according to Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman, was caused by construction work for the West Quad.
“They were digging to install the new gas line [for the West Quad],” Kohlman said. “While we were digging, they hit the underground power line that feeds Cromwell Cottage.”
The fire started in the garage and spread to the kitchen and family room, according to Kohlman. No one was in the house, and the fire department quickly arrived at the scene.
The fire was extinguished by 11:15 a.m., according to a second College email alert.
“It could have been a lot worse, but the fire department was there within minutes,” Kohlman said. “Everybody is safe and now we will go and fix everything.”
The College will work on repairing the house in the next few months. Until then, President Sean Decatur and his family have temporarily relocated to another residence in Gambier.