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Silver lining in smoke cloud: LDS Institute will get kitchen renovation

February 2nd, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Tmera Bradley

LOGAN – Though the smoke has been cleared for over a week, last Wednesday’s fire has rendered the kitchen in the LDS Institute at Utah State University temporarily unusable.

“The good news is we get to rebuild the kitchen,” Institute instructor Lyle Allen said.

The damage is around $18,000, Institute Director Wayne Dymock said. It will take about two more weeks for the kitchen to be in working order again. Replacement of many furnishings is necessary, including the cabinets, countertops, doors, stove and fridges, Dymock said.

“About $350 worth of apples got a little warm in there,” Dymock said. The fruit, which was the cause of the accident, was unsafe for consumption after the smoke and fire extinguishers were used in the room.

“Even the apples will be replaced, we were told,” Dymock said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is self-insured, which means the church will fund reconstruction of the kitchen.

“The fire was not as bad as we thought it was,” said Institute instructor Nyles Salmond. “It could have been much worse.”

The materials used in the 83-year-old building make it extremely dangerous in the event of a fire. “The firemen told us that when they built the tresses they used one-by-ones instead of two-by-fours,” Dymock said. “They said the one-by-ones burn like toothpicks.”

He said that had the flames burned up to the ceiling, the whole roof would have collapsed.

“The whole building would have been gone in 30 minutes,” Salmond said. “We’re grateful we didn’t lose the building.”

Dymock said ARS Flooding and Fire Cleanup came the day of the accident and worked into the night to remove smoke from the building. Classes were canceled Thursday to allow the job to be finished so the Institute could reopen Friday.

“They’ve really been very quick,” Dymock said. “We’re really pleased.”

While a sprinkling system is used in the main level of the Institute, there is none in the upstairs portion of the building where the fire occurred. A new system will be installed by this summer.

“We’ve requested a sprinkling system a few times, but have been declined because of funding,” Dymock said. “This got their attention.”


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