The fire started when molten metal and sparks from torches that were being used by a contractor several floors above the closet fell through the open shaft, igniting wires and fiberoptics, according to Department of Public Safety Sgt. Paul Vaughan, who inspected the site with Ann Arbor Fire Department officials. Contractors were installing a new pipe for the building's cooling system.
The School of Dentistry's new data network and paging system telephone lines housed in the same area were the only equipment affected. Service to the data network was restored by 10 a.m. Dec. 31, Darr says, using backup equipment and some material that was scheduled for other jobs. That will be replaced within a week, he says, and will have little effect on work that was scheduled for this month. It was unclear at Record press time when AT&T would be able to repair damage to the paging system telephone lines.