Fire in Gerlinger Annex halts building use
A fire broke out on the third floor of the Gerlinger Annex late Tuesday night.
There were no casualties, and officials estimate the cost of damage to be $500,000.
“At this point, the fire is being ruled as accidental,” Eugene Deputy Fire Marshal Amy Linder said.
University spokesperson Phil Weiler and Linder confirmed that a two-burner cook top started the fire in a small room, but it is unknown who left the burner on or for how long it was left on.
Weiler said that an alarm sounded in the DPS office at 9:59 p.m., and an officer was dispatched to the Annex, which was the source of the alarm. The officer saw smoke and immediately alerted the Eugene Fire Department. EFD responded with eight engines, three ladder trucks and three medic units.
“They really wanted to make sure that (the fire) didn’t spread,” Weiler said. “They were able to knock down the flames fast.”
Linder and Weiler also confirmed damage to Gerlinger Annex occurred mainly on the third floor. The building will remain closed as environmental health and safety officials inspect and assess the fire, water and smoke damage.
“(The environmental health and safety officials are) being ultra conservative in making sure that the facility is safe inside before they let people in,” Weiler said. “They don’t know for sure if asbestos is a concern, but it’s the kind of thing that they’re looking for.”
As long as asbestos remains encased, it is not a problem, Linder said. Many of the buildings on campus, including the Annex, use asbestos as insulation because old building codes allowed it.
Weiler said there are no summer session courses scheduled in the Annex, but there are summer camps being held there this week and during the rest of the summer.
“We made arrangements for the camps this week, and we’ll know more in the future,” Weiler said.
Weiler also said that he has not heard what needs to be specifically repaired, and that more information will be made public as the damage is fully assessed.
Keep checking dailyemerald.com for developments on this story.
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