Fire breaks out at WES shop

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A fire that erupted during installation of new equipment Tuesday afternoon in a building at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center campus on Halls Ferry Road was contained and no injuries were reported.

ERDC security officers called 911 around 1:30 p.m. to report the fire in building 6001 of the Directorate of Public Works department, Vicksburg Deputy Fire Chief Mark Hales said.

Hales said about eight workers were in the shop, which is used for construction and model-building of research equipment, when a spark ignited from installation of a new router.

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“The fire got to the second ceiling, and through to the insulation,” he said.

Five Vicksburg fire trucks and numerous support and response vehicles responded.

“The fire was confined to the middle part of the building,” Hales said. “It had been controlled. Some of the guys used the fire extinguisher before we got here.” He said firefighters were working to clear smoke, which had spread through the building.

The building also houses chemicals and specialized equipment, such as a computerized cutting machine.

Wayne Stroupe, ERDC public affairs officer, said about 50 employees in the DPW headquarters and the shop were evacuated. No injuries were reported.

ERDC’s Vicksburg campus, which sits on nearly 700 acres off of Halls Ferry Road, employs about 1,800 federal, contract and student workers. The Army facility has several specialized work areas for study, research, design and testing of materials and devices for military and civilian applications.

For many years, the center, created in 1928, had its own fire department. Vicksburg crews now respond to emergencies on the federal base.