Colorado State to examine rubble in fire's wake

Source of blaze that destroyed Equine Reproduction Laboratory unknown

August 2, 2011 (published)
By Jennifer Fiala

Investigators are searching for the cause of a July 26 fire at Colorado State University's Equine Reproduction Laboratory. Photo courtesy Poudre Fire Authority.

Authorities don't yet know what started a fire at Colorado State University’s (CSU) Equine Reproduction Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colo., last week, but the site has been released back to the institution while the investigation ensues.  

The Poudre Fire Authority is looking for the fire’s source, including whether it was deliberately set. Recently, the FBI and Northern Colorado Bomb Squad joined the investigation. 

"The process of determining the fire's cause could take a number of days, a number of weeks, a number of months," says Poudre Fire Authority spokesman Patrick Love. "The field work has been done. Now we're taking a look at the evidence."  

Employees won’t be permitted to access the building on CSU’s Foothills Campus until university safety officials conduct an audit of the site to evaluate potential hazards.  

The fire was reported at 1 a.m. July 26, with witnesses describing 20-foot high flames shooting through the roof. Damage is expected to cost in excess of $9 million, with some estimates as high as $12 million. The Equine Reproduction Lab’s main office building, which housed some laboratories, was destroyed, but the full extent of the damage is unknown.   

No people or horses were injured; the fire did not impact barns or stock areas. The fire did not displace veterinary medical students, who will report for CSU's academic year on Aug. 22. 

In addition to education and research, the Equine Reproduction Laboratory deals in the collection of semen, artificial insemination and recovery and transfer of equine embryos. The laboratory is continuing to offer clinical and mare services. 

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