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Mayor Sarno and AIC President Hubert Benitez Tour Damage to Courniotes Hall on AIC Campus

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Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined with American International College (AIC) President Hubert Benitez to tour the damage to Courniotes Hall on the college campus. The building is believed to have been hit by lightning Thursday evening which caused a fire leaving the building significantly damaged from fire and water. Chief of Staff Tom Ashe, Springfield Fire Deputy Chief Michael Hess, Springfield Fire Deputy Chief David Wells, AIC Board of Trustees Chair Frank Colaccino, and members of the Springfield Police Department and AIC Campus Police were also on scene.

Mayor Sarno states, “First of all, I am happy to hear that no one was injured from this unfortunate disaster.  The weather has truly been surreal this year.  Thank you to our Springfield Fire and Police Departments for their tremendous efforts in knocking this fire down and keeping the immediate area safe and secure.  Simply a tremendous job by all.”

“I reached out to President Benitez yesterday and offered any and all assistance we can provide to not only put the fire out and stop it from spreading, but to also help their campus out with a temporary facility for classrooms by using the soon to be empty Homer Street School, which is right next door, as the new DeBerry-Swan school will be opening this Fall,” said Mayor Sarno.  “Governor Maura Healey has also reached out and I know that Congressman Richard Neal, an AIC graduate himself, will offer whatever assistance they can provide.”

“Seeing the damage to the building firsthand, the fire devastated the second floor and destroyed the roof.  Most likely, all of the equipment, amenities and supplies were either destroyed by the fire or damaged beyond repair by the water.  Again, we are all fortunate that no one was injured or worst,” added Mayor Sarno.  “Springfield is a strong and resilient community, and as we have done with the various natural and man-made disasters before, such as the 2011 tornado, the freak nor’easter snow storm and the gas explosion, we will endure, persevere and rebuild better and stronger than before.”     

AIC President Benitez stated, “Courniotes Hall on the campus of American International College was struck by lightning. Campus Police did a walk-through to ensure that no students, faculty, or staff were inside and that the building was cleared.  Courniotes Hall houses AIC’s nursing program and provides classroom space for additional health sciences courses. While there is significant damage to the building, AIC is committed to taking all actions necessary to ensure that we provide students with continuity in their course of studies in the fall of 2023.  AIC is known for its resilience and we will come back stronger than ever thanks to the help of our community. We want to sincerely thank our first responders, including Springfield Fire and Police Departments as well as our Campus Police who acted swiftly to help mitigate further damage to our campus.”

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm