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Published February 09, 2011, 03:59 PM

Fire Destroys Insect Colonies in NDSU Storage Building

A midday fire destroyed insect colonies being stored in a steel building on the west side of North Dakota State University in Fargo, a campus spokeswoman said.

By: Mike Nowatzki, INFORUM

FARGO - A midday fire destroyed insect colonies being stored in a steel building on the west side of North Dakota State University in Fargo, a campus spokeswoman said.

The building is near the intersection of 15th Avenue North and 18th Street, just west of NDSU's Animal Nutrition and Physiology Center.

Terry Skunberg, a unit manager at the center, said he and others at the center were about to clean a barn when they noticed smoke coming from the storage building and reported it just after 11:30 a.m.

The fire was under control by 11:45 a.m., and crews cleared the 20-by-40-foot building by 2:15 p.m., according to Fargo Fire Capt. Gary Lorenz.

Campus spokeswoman Najla Amundson said NDSU’s entomology department used the building to rear colonies of wasps and aphids in isolation so they wouldn’t contaminate other insects. The insects were to be used for experiments, but no experiments were going on inside the building, she said.

The building was divided in two, and the bulk of the fire damage was in the east section of the building, Lorenz said.

The fire destroyed the insect colonies and some mesh field cages used by the entomology department, Amundson said. A tractor, sprayer, planter and four-wheeler inside the building weren’t damaged.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Amundson said the building was heated, but it was unclear what kind of heating system was used.

A damage estimate for the building wasn’t immediately available. No one was injured in the blaze.

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