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UK'S ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
SUSTAINS EXTENSIVE FIRE DAMAGE

By Dan Adkins

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Preliminary reports indicate extensive damage was sustained on the second and third floors of the 119-year-old building.

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For a history of the Administration Building, click here.

For a listing of relocated administrative offices, click here.

May 15, 2001 – (Lexington, Ky.) – Fire caused extensive damage this afternoon to the University of Kentucky Administration Building, one of the three oldest buildings on campus.

The fire apparently started when a construction worker, using a propane torch to solder copper eaves, ignited wood rafters in the three-story building’s attic, Lexington Fire Chief William Roy Holleran said.  The fire then burned its way through the attic, engulfed the third floor and continued into parts of the second floor.

Forty firefighters, two aerial trucks and seven pumper trucks battled what Holleran described as a “two alarm-plus” fire.

The fire was reported at 3:59 p.m. and fire units on the scene arrived at 4:01 p.m.  A Lexington fire station stands just across Limestone Street from the Administration Building.  Forty to 50 people were evacuated from the building within minutes.  The only injuries reported were minor burns suffered by a construction worker.

UK officials were concerned about the possible loss of records, artwork and other items.  Most of the records were backed up in computer files, and no archived materials were kept in the building.

At 5:35 p.m., Holleran said the third floor was extensively damaged, as was most of the second floor.  The first floor was largely spared damage from the fire.  However, the complete extent of fire, smoke and water damage was not immediately known.  Firefighters entered the building at 6:10 p.m.

The eave work was part of a $1.3 million renovation project that started last fall.  Paul Cable, a project manager in UK’s capital project management division, said the project was replacing old sheet metal around facades, cement plaster ornamentation around the building, and window heads with cut stone.

The renovation of the 119-year-old building was scheduled for completion later this month.

The building houses the offices of UK President Charles T. Wethington Jr., Vice President for Administration Ben W. Carr, Chancellor Elisabeth Zinser and several other administrative units.  Within a half-hour of the start of the fire, officials had made tentative relocation plans for the units.

George DeBin, vice president for fiscal affairs, said the president and his staff, Carr, Fiscal Affairs, the legal department and Academic Affairs would be relocated to the 18th floor of the Patterson Office Tower.


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