MOSCOW, Idaho -- A Saturday evening fire at the University of Idaho Navy ROTC building was apparently caused by remnants of a barbecue held there earlier in the day.
Investigators with the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department and Idaho State Fire Marshal's office believe the fire started after inadequately extinguished briquettes were placed in landscaping near the building's main entrance, the UI announced Monday.
Embers from the smoldering briquettes, bark and plant material apparently migrated to the building's wooden foundation. From there, the fire moved up a plumbing system pipe chase into the attic and roofline.
The investigation is ongoing, and the extent of fire, smoke and water damage to the building is yet to be determined.
Navy ROTC students and staff were able to salvage many photographs, documents, uniforms, flags and other items that escaped the brunt of the fire.
The facility was originally constructed in 1942 as a training center for Navy radio operators and was rebuilt after an unsolved arson in 1970.
Matt Dorschel, the UI's director of emergency and security services, said the university is grateful for its on-campus security team, which spotted smoke emanating from the building shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday and subsequently called 911.
The UI has posted photos of the inside of the partially burned building on its Facebook page, located at this shortened link: www.goo.gl/vGdLK.
A Daily News video of the fire and its aftermath can be viewed at this shortened link: www.goo.gl/jXEDk
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(c) 2011, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho
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