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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE RTVB studio destroyed in blaze

NE Campus Fire
Photo courtesy Jerry Zumwalt
Smoke pours from the NE Campus RTVB building during a fire Saturday, Dec. 8.

By Karen Gavis/Managing Editor

UPDATE: 2:45 p.m., 12/10/12

No one was hurt during a fire that ignited in NE Campus’ radio, TV, video and broadcasting studio shortly after class had ended early Saturday afternoon.

However, everything within the studio was destroyed. An assessment of the NIMC building’s damage will begin today, said NE RTVB assistant professor Jerry Zumwalt.

“As to the condition of the unburned portion of the building, a strong odor of smoke permeates everything, and there are gray smoke stains like paint drippings two to three feet down from the ceiling on every wall throughout the building,” he said in a message Sunday to students and instructors. “A fine dust of black soot covers everything inside the NIMC, but there is not extensive water damage as the fire was contained in the TV studio.”

Firefighters from five departments responded to the two-alarm fire. Hurst assistant fire chief David Palla said Monday the cause of the fire has not been determined.

Zumwalt said classes will be held in the physical plant building in the spring.

“All the students really want to know what is happening,” he said. “The answer is we are going to keep going on.”

TCC risk and insurance manager Michael Payton said a restoration crew will be on hand Wednesday to help with retrieval of urgent items.

The fire was discovered around 1 p.m. Saturday when Zumwalt noticed smoke coming from the studio.

“Jerry [Zumwalt] went in there and said it looked like smoke coming from the floor,” said RTVB instructional assistant Richard Neece. “He said, ’There’s a fire in the building. Get out!’ And he cut on the fire alarm.”

Zumwalt said because of the fast response of campus police officers, dispatchers and local firefighters, none of the other NIMC rooms suffered burn damage.

“However, there is extensive smoke damage throughout the entire NIMC building including the classroom, computer labs, audio studios, offices and storage areas including those of the graphics and media services departments on the other side of the building,” he said.

Zumwalt said he is asking instructors to work with students to complete finals and grading assessments as best they can without the materials that are not immediately accessible, and everything that can will be retrieved in the days ahead.

Students will now take final exams in the nearby NCAB building.

Fire line tape from Saturday’s blaze remained stretched across a portion of the building, but smoke no longer billowed skyward as workers took the first steps toward the building’s restoration Sunday.

Contractor Jamie Vega and a few other workers covered a gaping hole, which had been cut in the building by firefighters. The men patched the roof with plywood to keep out rain, wildlife, and in today’s case, snow.

“The firemen put a hole through the roof so the smoke could exit the building,” Vega said.

Vega said he received a call from the fire marshal around midnight Saturday telling him that the investigation was finished, and he could begin work in the building.

“There was a fire marshal, and they had four arson team investigators,” he said. ”They wouldn’t let us do anything until they were done with the investigation.”

Diamond Mitchem contributed to this story.

See more photos on The Collegian Facebook page.

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