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Fire damages USU ag building, no one injured

February 28th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

By Shayna Marcure

LOGAN – A fire Tuesday night is to blame for an estimated nearly $50,000 in damages to the  AGRS building at Utah State University, said Teryl Roper, head of the department of plants, soils and climate.

“USU’s security responded just after 8 p.m. to fire alarms in the basement of the ag building,” Roper said.

An experiment involving heating a soil column turned for the worst when the cardboard used as insulation caught fire, Roper said. The experiment was strictly for research, and is not coursework within the department. There was nobody overseeing the experiment at the time of combustion, he added.

“One of the fire sprinklers was activated,” Roper said, “and there appears to be no structural damage, just cosmetic.” Almost all of the costly damage was caused by water from the fire sprinkler system.

According to Logan City Fire Marshal Craig Humphreys, there was nobody in the building at the time of the fire department’s arrival, and no injuries. The smoke is what led firefighters to the only room touched by flames and water.

Firefighters did put out flames that the sprinklers did not extinguish with multiple hose lines. An elevator was shut down to ensure that nobody ventured to the building’s basement, not because it was flooded, said Roper.

The damaged lab has to be investigated by the university’s insurance agents to find the exact cost of damages, as well as by USU Facilities, he said.  Roper said within the next few weeks remodeling of the lab will begin.

All coursework and classes will continue as scheduled.


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