Students and Staff React to Austin College Fire

1-15-07 A fire that destroyed an Austin College fine arts building Sunday night is now estimated to have caused half a million dollars in damages. Although many instruments and several classrooms are gone, school leaders say they will be able to pick up the pieces and move on.

The fire may have started because of an overheated motor in a maintenance closet that was doing extra duty because of power outages caused by the cold. Smoke filled Craig Hall Sunday night as the fire and smoke jumped from one classroom to another damaging the building and students' art projects and music instruments. Students watched as fire crews arrived to battle the blaze. They say smoke drifted across campus into dorms.

As the investigation continues, school leaders have mixed emotions about the fire. Soon, a brand new building will house the art studio, giving each program its own space. The music program will stay in Craig Hall. In the meantime, renovations will begin to restore part of the historic campus. Electricity is expected to be back on in Craig Hall in about a week and a half and the renovations should take about a semester to complete. Luckily no on was hurt in the fire.