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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

TCC, Hurst spar in NE fire probe

Workers+sift+through+the+destroyed+NIMC+building+on+NE+Campus+after+a+fire+Dec.+8.+The+cause+of+the+fire+is+still+being+investigated.+%0APhoto+courtesy+Jerry+Zumwalt
Workers sift through the destroyed NIMC building on NE Campus after a fire Dec. 8. The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Photo courtesy Jerry Zumwalt

By Karen Gavis/editor-in-chief

Workers sift through the destroyed NIMC building on NE Campus after a fire Dec. 8. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.  Photo courtesy Jerry Zumwalt
Workers sift through the destroyed NIMC building on NE Campus after a fire Dec. 8. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Photo courtesy Jerry Zumwalt

Little progress has been made in determining the cause of the fire that destroyed the TV studio and damaged other parts of the NIMC building Dec. 8 on NE Campus.

In the meantime, TCC has hired an attorney to represent its interests in the matter.

TCC’s website initially said the fire was believed to be caused by an electrical issue. Hurst Fire Marshal Howard Hill said the cause is still under investigation. However, he said his part of the fire’s investigation was thwarted when he received a letter from the attorney.

“The school has hired attorney Mark Daniel,” Hill said. “Mr. Daniel has sent me notice to not speak with any employees or representatives of TCC.”

Hill said it’s hard to investigate when he cannot speak with anyone and declined to comment further.

Daniel, a criminal defense attorney, said while Hill was investigating the fire previously, Hill had asked a TCC employee to take a polygraph test, which Daniel said was “uncalled for.”

TCC risk and insurance manager Michael Payton has been involved in the project and said there have been no delays from an insurance perspective. 

“The building has been released, and we are moving forward,” he said.

An interior demolition such as the removal of walls began Feb. 11, Payton said. The next phase will be reconstruction.

For now, NE’s radio, TV and broadcasting program is located at the northeast corner of the campus where two modular buildings consisting of four rooms have been set up.

Temporary sound booths are in place, and a computer lab sits awaiting computers and a certificate of occupancy.

“We’ve just remodeled everything, so there’s no functionality,” RTVB assistant professor Jerry Zumwalt said. “The graphics department is letting us use their computer lab.”

Zumwalt said for now, space is cramped, and not as many students will be able to work on a project at the same time as they would have before.

As for the old building, “They’re in the process of evaluating the structure,” he said. “They’ve done asbestos abatement in there.”

Zumwalt said the plan is to reoccupy the building as soon as possible, but that is taking longer than they wanted.

“We haven’t had any unusual snags. It is always the normal snags,” he said. “It just takes time.”

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