Students, Professors Pick Up Pieces After Fire

Crews are still investigating and cleaning up Friday's fire that destroyed part of UT's Dougherty Engineering Building.

Students and professors came back to pick up some of their belongings from the building today and we took a close up look at the damage inside.

UT Police try to explain to anxious students and professors the dangers of going inside too close to where yesterday's fire took place.

There's no electricity, no water or anything over on the side which caught fire.

One UT graduate student was trapped inside the burning building yesterday, but firefighters were able to rescue him with a ladder.

"I'm just glad everyone got out safe. One of my graduate students had to come out through the window," said Arnie Lumsdaine.

Professor Arnie Lumsdaine was in his office on the second floor of the engineering building when the fire broke out.

"When I went into the hallway, I had to cover my mouth from all the smoke that was coming out. Then I figured it was something a little more serious."

Lumsdaine showed up today to rescue his belongings and fortunately...

"My office was fine, walking to and from the office in the stairwell was just soot everywhere."

We went down to the basement where the fire started in one of the combustion-engine laboratories.

"We have work crews going through the building, trying to isolate the most heavily damaged parts of the buildings," said Mike Sherrell.

UT's Executive Director of Facility Services Mike Sherrell says the flames were contained to the basement and mezanine level, but the smoke and soot spread through all six floors and up to the roof.

"It's pretty significant because there's damage, not only to equipment in the labs, but also to the infrastructure. By that what I mean is the HVAC system, electrical systems, plumbing systems."

Which means the entire building will be closed at least all of next week.

"Cancelling classes this week cause all my classes are in this building, as well. So I'm concerned about getting through the end of the semester with my students," said Lumsdaine.

Sherrell says about 200 classes are taught in Dougherty every day.

"I'm in contact with all the students via e-mail. We've got a webpage for all the courses, so I'm keeping communication, but we can't meet," said Lumsdaine.

Professors say they're trying to arrange other buildings and classrooms to hold their classes in after next week.

The left side of the building with the most damage could be closed for a month, but UT says they'll have a better timeline for us on Monday.

They do say the damage is costly but aren't saying how much yet.


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