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Fire destroys building that stores money records for UH system

Dan Nakaso
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JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
Honolulu firefighters work to extinguish hot spots on a structure fire on Sunday, February 12, 2012 at UH Manoa's Lower Campus in Manoa. The fire was called in at 8:01am and under control at 8:23am with 35 firefighters responding to the call.
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JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
A fire in a University of Hawaii budget and fiscal office next to the Stan Sheriff Center this morning caused preliminary estimates of $500,000 in structural damage and $100,000 in damage to the contents, Honolulu Fire Capt. Robert Main said.
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JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
Honolulu firefighters work to extinguish hot spots on a structure fire on Sunday, February 12, 2012 at UH Manoa's Lower Campus in Manoa. The fire was called in at 8:01am and under control at 8:23am with 35 firefighters responding to the call.

Honolulu firefighters continue to battle a fire at the University of Hawaii’s lower campus that has destroyed a portable, wooden building next to the Stan Sheriff Center.

The fire to the 2,500- to 3,000-square foot fiscal management and procurement office was reported at 8:03 a.m. and firefighters had it under control at 8:21 a.m.

But around 10 a.m. today, "it just erupted into flames," Honolulu Fire Capt. Robert Main said.

The fire remains isolated to the single building and firefighters are trying to keep it from spreading, Main said.

"Once it got into the roof structure, we had problems getting into the roof area and opening it up," Main said. 

The building houses computerized and paper records for payroll, vendor payments and student loans for the entire 10-campus, UH system of about 60,000 students and 7,000 to 8,000 faculty and staff, said UH spokesman Gregg Takayama.

"Some of the records are backed-up on an off campus site, but most are not," Takayama said. "We won’t know the impact until they’re able to get back into the office and determine what kind of computer records and paper records can be salvaged. For now it’s a bit too early to say what the immediate impact is."

The fire dislocated a UH staff of about 40 employees, Takayama said.

"Firemen did a great job in confining the fire to just that one building because it’s very close to other wooden structures that are in that lower campus area," Takayama said.

The fire had caused an estimated $500,000 to the structure and $100,000 to the computers, files and other contents, Main said this morning.

But the damage is now considered a total loss, Main said.

The cause remains under investigation.

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