Transformer explodes at Reynolds Coliseum

Updated: May 23, 2005, 2:46 PM ET
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Reynolds Coliseum, the historic basketball coliseum at North Carolina State, caught fire Monday morning after a transformer exploded.

About 50 people were evacuated from the coliseum, campus police dispatcher Katie Runner said. A firefighter was treated for heat-related injuries, Raleigh fire chief Tommie Styons said.

A transformer on the east side of the building exploded and began shooting out sparks, Runner said. A fire burned in the basement for more than an hour before firefighters brought it under control.

N.C. State won two NCAA men's basketball championships while playing in the coliseum, but quit playing there several years ago to move into the larger RBC Center.

The women's basketball team continues to play there. The building also houses offices for gymnastics, volleyball and women's golf.

Men's basketball coach Herb Sendek and his staff were evacuated from their nearby office building as a precaution.

"Obviously, there's a lot of nostalgia and history and a lot of special memories," Sendek said. "I think right now we just have to wait and see what the damage is."

The coliseum was built in 1949 and named for William Neal Reynolds, the brother of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company founder.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press