Officials on Tuesday were trying to assess how much damage an early-morning fire did to a world-renowned equine reproduction program at Colorado State University.
The fire, reported at 1 a.m., gutted the main office of the Equine Reproduction Laboratory at the CSU Foothills Campus. Firefighters found flames shooting through the roof of the building.
Fire crews, CSU police, faculty and students evacuated horses from nearby buildings as a precaution. No animals or people were hurt in the blaze, which is still under investigation, said Poudre Fire Authority spokesman Patrick Love. The program is aimed at improving horse reproduction.
Smoke from the fire blanketed neighborhoods east of the campus, and it took 28 firefighters to finally quell the blaze. Fire officials estimated the total damage to the structure could total $12 million.
But on Tuesday, CSU officials were still trying to determine the extent of the damage to the equine program, said CSU spokeswoman Dell Rae Moellenberg.
"The roof of the building came down, so it will take a couple of days to figure out what contents were damaged," Moellenberg said.
The building included offices for the program's researchers as well as labs. There was also a clinical-services area where horses were brought to be examined by veterinarians and students, she said.
"There was some research done there, and there was some computer data, but as far as how much data was available elsewhere or the extent of the damage, we are several days from figuring that out," said Moellenberg.
The lab is part of the Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory at CSU. Started in 1967, the laboratory has evolved into an internationally known program of clinical service, education and research, according to CSU.
Over the past 30 years, techniques such as collection of semen and artificial insemination, recovery and transfer of equine embryos, and shipping of cooled semen and cooled embryos have been developed and are now routinely used in the equine industry, CSU said.
Staffers will be temporarily moved to other buildings.
"We want to make this as smooth as possible for the people who work there," Moellenberg said.
Monte Whaley: 720-929-0907 or email@example.com