Options for Truman after January fire

A storage building in the Dulaney and Baldwin Complex was damaged in a January fire.

After a fire on the south side of campus, Truman State University is looking at options for rebuilding the storage building.

The fire broke out Jan. 24 in the Delaney and Baldwin Complex. After the fire investigation, Kirksville Fire Department and Truman Department of Public Safety concluded it was an electrical fire.

David Rector, vice president for administration, finance and planning, said Truman has a $50,000 deductible, so the University’s share of any loss is $50,000.

Rector also said an insurance adjuster looked at the damage, assessed the contents inside of the building and gave the deprecated value. The University lost a couple of forklifts and a Bobcat.

“We have an estimate from [the insurance company about how much it will cost],” Rector said. “We are still going back and forth with them to finalize that.”

Rector said there will not be a finalized cost on the damage until the insurance company has come to an agreement with Truman.

If the University decides to rebuild another building, Truman will get the replacement value back and go through the process of pricing the new building and its specifications. However, Rector said there has not been a final decision on what to rebuild or if they want to rebuild there.

Rector said between the heat and smoke damage, the building was a total loss. The next step for the building is to clean up the area and call in a contractor to tear down the building. However, Truman has to wait until the insurance investigation is over to do anything with the building, and that might take around 30-60 days, Rector said.

The University intends to have a plan laid out for a replacement building, hold a competitive bid and ask the Board of Governors to approve a replacement building in June, Rector said.

Till then, Truman has rented a forklift to replace the lost one. The rest of the lost property will not be replaced because the building was storage for surplus property like old computers and photocopiers.

Two trucks came to the scene at the time of the fire, and the Kirksville Fire Department sent out a general alarm to call in off-duty workers to aid in the response.

“Overall, it went pretty well,” Jon Cook, Kirksville Fire Department Deputy Chief, said. “Actually, the outcome was better than I expected it to be based on the volume of fire that was present when we arrived.”

Cook said they deemed it a defensive fire, which means, they considered it unsafe to go inside and relied on a heavy water stream from the exterior of the building instead of going inside.

Cook said it was difficult to get to the seed of the fire and extinguish it.

The day was cold with a strong wind and snow and ice covering the ground, Cook said, which made extinguishing the fire more difficult. However, Cook said the wind was in their favor that day because it kept the fire from spreading.

“Our biggest concern was the exposure to the building … to the south, since they are pretty close together,” Cook said. “One of the crews focused on fire attack … and the other focused on protecting that exposure.”

Cook said there was a fuel tank adjacent to the building, so the firemen worked to protect that corner from exposure as well.