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Clear-up starts after fire in Tema

By Friday morning, the fire in the laboratory in the Tema Building had been extinguished, and work to assess the damage and find ways to ensure continued operations was under way. It’s too early to have any theories about the cause of the fire.

It was just before 3 am that a fire broke out in the laboratory in the Tema Building. It became clear that only a small part of the lab had actually been burnt, but smoke and soot affect the whole lab, and have spread throughout the building.

Interiör av branden i Tema-huset.Fire engineers and damage assessors could start their work on Friday to examine the laboratory to see what has been lost and what can be saved. The part of the lab affected is a workshop that houses mainly electronic equipment, with no flammable chemicals or gases. The lab is continuously used, although activity there at the moment is lower than usual, due to the corona crisis and distance mode. In addition, some equipment is out on field experiments. There were no people in the building when the fire broke out, and no one has been injured. Labs for teaching are located in Norrköping and this means that the teaching activities will not be affected.

“The situation is now under control, but there’s a lot of soot in the lab. It’s too early to have any theories about what has happened. At the moment, we’re trying to assess the extent of the damage”, says Per Gyberg, head of department in the Department of Thematic Studies. “You can always buy replacement equipment, but years of research results are irreplaceable. We are most concerned about the condition of the biogas reactors.”
It is also important to start operations again as soon as possible.

“The lab can’t be used: it must be cleared first, and it’s essential that we find ways to keep important activities going”, says David Bastviken, professor in the Department of Thematic Studies. “We have operations that never cease, long-term projects in which we receive samples all the time.”

“This is a major problem”, he continues. “It’s only a small part of the lab that has burnt and it could have been worse. I’m just happy that the fire was discovered quickly, and I want to praise everyone involved for the fantastic job they have done.”

“The smell of smoke permeates the complete Tema Building, and may also affect the D Building. I’ve advised all co-workers not to come in to work. One positive thing is that just at the moment many people are working at home already, and we’re nearly at the end of term”, says Per Gyberg, who is also impressed by the response.

“The whole incident was managed in an incredibly professional manner by everybody involved – the LiU crisis management team, Akademiska Hus, the co-workers at the Department of Thematic Studies who are most affected, and, not least, the rescue services. The Facilities Management Office has already started to look for other premises for our operations, and as a result the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology has already said that it can help. This is just great!”

Text: Elisabet Wahrby

Translated by George Farrants

Photo: Charlotte Perhammar


Exteriör, Tema.

Exteriör, Tema.

Forskningsingenjören Mårten Dario iklädd skyddsmask.

Research Engineer Mårten Dario has come in to look at the mess.

Två män som börjat sanera golv.

Interiör, Tema.

Interiör, Tema.


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Last updated: 2020-06-12