Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 8, 2013

Fire-damaged building to remain vacant

Mike James
The Independent

MOREHEAD — Offices vacated following a weekend fire at Morehead State University probably will stay vacant, a university official said Monday.

Offices for the risk and compliance department and the health and safety department were in a nondamaged part of Downing Hall, and those offices have been moved to temporary quarters in Waterfield Hall, said risk and compliance director Harry Gunn.

Also moving out of the building, which was mostly vacant, are offices used by Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement and the Kentucky State Police.

The offices were in a part of the structure not affected by the fire, but had to move because utilities were shut off as a result of the blaze and won’t be reconnected, Gunn said.

Downing Hall, built in 1967 as a dormitory for student athletes, was scheduled for demolition and the university offices there were scheduled to move in a few weeks. They will move to the old Rowan County Courthouse once remodeling is done in four to six weeks.

Officials have not determined the cause of the fire, which started on either the second floor or the attic, said Morehead Fire Chief Jeff Anderson.

Arson is not suspected, he said. There was no alarm system in the building, which was unoccupied when the fire happened on Sunday.

The Kentucky Fire Marshal’s Office was still evaluating the structure Monday.

The blaze broke out on one end of the structure, actually a complex of three buildings with firewalls separating them, Anderson said. The firewalls prevented damage to the other two sections.

Five firefighters who suffered minor bruises in the fire escaped serious injury, he said.

Some older electronic equipment stored in the building was destroyed, but there was no other significant damage, Gunn said.

MIKEā€ˆJAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.