Investigators Search for Answers at SUNY Canton
Blown out windows and charred brick; these are the remnants of a fire that ripped through Cook Hall at SUNY Canton Friday.
Saturday, investigators and officials were busy looking for answers.
"They think they've isolated the room where the fire started. We kind of had an idea I think yesterday about that, but in terms of how the fire specifically started, that's still being investigated," says SUNY Canton Assistant Vice President Randy Sieminski.
Officials tell us the investigation is not being treated as suspicious and that no one was in the room at the time of the fire. As for the building where the fire started, a chem lab, school employees say things could have been worse.
"The nice thing is, we had minimal amount of chemicals as far as we know in that lab area," says Sieminski.
Cook Hall is not expected to be used again this semester due to the extensive damage. Other buildings in the area of Cook, including two dorms, were evacuated for precautionary concerns. Officials say there is a possibility those buildings were damaged by smoke from the fire, a main reason why students were sent home for the week.
"That's why we've called in several different agencies and are testing all of the buildings before we send anyone else back in," says Sieminski.
Air and lab tests will be conducted on the buildings near the site of the fire. The goal is to have those buildings, besides Cook Hall, pass all tests to get students back soon.
"We're hoping to get back up and running on the 20th, but who knows? These plans could change, but we're hopeful, even optimistic," says Sieminski.
School officials hope to have a better idea of when students can return next week, but for now it's all about figuring out what happened and cleaning up.
Thursday, June 20, 2013, Watertown, NY
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