Tuesday, January 15, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 72


Small lamp causes fire at Fine Arts

By Ed De La Garza
Daily Cougar Staff

The elements have it in for the Fine Arts building.

In June, Tropical Storm Allison left clean-up crews to deal with water damage. Saturday, fire took a crack at it or, more specifically, at Room

Lorrie Novosad/The Daily Cougar

A fire at the Fine Arts Building damaged a chair and desk, but was contained by firefighters before it spread or did significant damage. The fire
was ruled accidental.

Two fire trucks were dispatched to the site, along Entrance 16, at 5:42 p.m., making it there at 6:11. Firefighters quickly put out a small fire that
was ruled accidental.

"It appears there was a small lamp left on in a vicinity where there were some chemicals," UH Police Department Lt. Roger Byars said. "Heat
from the lamp mixed with the chemical vapors."

While it was one more bit of bad news for a building that was just getting back to normal following Allison, an alert system installed in 1999
prevented the fire from spreading into other rooms.

In fact, any damage caused seemed to be related more to smoke than fire. The actual fire was confined to a desk and chair. The main problem
caused by the fire was added clean-up to deal with.

The room was used as studio space for advanced metalsmith students. Classes that would have been scheduled for that room were relocated.
Some had been relocated since the flood. The flood may have made things easier to deal with this time around.

"One thing to keep in mind is that we went through the flood," said Pat Deeves, assistant director of the UH art department. "The jewelry classes
were relocated and we barely got them back for the beginning of school. But we know what can be done with environmental cleaners."

UHPD concluded its investigation, determining no criminal activity was involved and there was no danger to anyone at the building. Though
chemicals were involved, there were no explosions and no one was hurt during the incident.

The total cost of the damage cannot be determined until the facilities maintenance department finishes its clean-up, said Robert Schneller,
executive director of safety and risk management.

"We investigate and see if any additional action needs to be taken," he said. "Then we do a follow-up."

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