[cifnmedia] EIU Blair Hall burned.

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 20:47:08 -0700 (PDT)

Local News
EIU's Blair Hall ablaze 
By NATHANIEL WEST Staff Writer  Wednesday, April 28, 2004 8:45 PM CDT 

CHARLESTON - Reed Benedict watched stoically as flames consumed what used to be 
his third-floor office in Eastern Illinois University's Blair Hall.

A decade of his research, curriculum and teaching tools were reduced to 
smoldering ashes by Wednesday night, when firefighters from at least six 
different departments finally got the fire in the 91-year-old building under 

"It's just gone," lamented Reed, an EIU criminology professor. "I really have 
to start from scratch."

He's not alone. While no one was injured, priceless amounts of academia and 
documented knowledge were destroyed by the blaze, the cause of which has yet to 
be determined.

Charleston firefighters were dispatched to the university at about 3:15 p.m. By 
the time they arrived, according to Chief Darrell Nees, strong winds had 
substantially fanned the flames, which eventually burned away most of the roof 
and gutted all of the top story.

"All I keep thinking about is everything that's gone," said Lisa New Freeland, 
a professor who also had an office on Blair Hall's third floor. "Everything is 
in there ... Twenty years of books are just gone."

For stories and photos, see Thursday's Times-Courier and Journal Gazette. 

Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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