Campus fire - Ka Leo O Hawaii: Campus

Campus fire

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Posted: Sunday, February 12, 2012 10:34 am

A fire broke out at approximately 8 a.m. Sunday on campus near the Athletics Complex in Building 171 (in section D), a portable that serves as the fiscal management and procurement office.

The portable, which is over 30 years old and wooden in structure, houses fiscal management data for the entire University of Hawaiʻi system, which includes over 60,000 students and approximately 7,000 faculty members.

Though the flames were previously controlled, the fire started again.

"They weren't able to extinguish in the roof because there's a drop ceiling, so it's hard to access it from inside of the building. So I guess the wind and the wood just added to it, so it started up again," said UH spokesman Gregg Takayama.

Inside the portable are "all fiscal records, student loans, procurement ... like vendor information," said Takayama.

"Part of the problem is that they had a hard time putting the fire out because it is paper information. Some of it's computer, but not all of it."

According to Takeyama, the Hawaiʻi Fire Department estimates the damage of the structure to be about half a million dollars, and the contents at least $100,000. However, exact numbers are uncertain at this point.

"We suspect that with the way that it's going, the whole building might be lost," Takayama said.

The fiscal office had been in the process of transitioning to an all-computer system, but had not been scheduled for completion for several more months. Some of the information is backed up off site, but the extent of the loss of the original data is currently unknown.

"We won't know until we're able to get in there and find out what's recoverable," shared Takayama.

Campus Security officer Reymundo Gomez responded to the scene after noticing smoke.

"I was doing my normal routine ... as I was proceeding, Makai bound, I witnessed a huge black cloud of smoke come out of one of the buildings," said Gomez.

In regard to Hawaiʻi Fire Department's response time, Gomez stated, "They came right away; they were here within minutes."

Details of the cause of the fire are pending.

Check back with kaleo.org for updates.