Tampa Fire Rescue responded to a fire alarm at the Moffitt Child Development Center on Thursday, said University Police (UP) spokeswoman Lt. Meg Ross.
UP was not notified because the fire alarms are directly linked to the fire department, she said, but UP officers noticed the building was being evacuated while walking in the area.
Ross said Tampa Fire Rescue responded to the center around 10:50 a.m. and found “a large amount of smoke” coming from a maintenance closet. The source of the smoke was rags that had fallen behind a clothes dryer.
It is unclear whether there were actual flames, Ross said.
The day care center was evacuated, but none of the surrounding buildings were.
“UP officers observed evacuations of all children and caretakers at the day care center,” Ross said.
UP left the scene at 11:30 a.m., but the day care remained evacuated due to the smell of the smoke, Ross said. The day care workers and children stayed in a portable building.
It is unclear what time everyone re-entered the center. The Oracle was unable to reach Moffitt or Tampa Fire Rescue for comment.
– Additional reporting by Courtney Alberigo