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Fire at Princeton Univ. Lab Damages ABI and Affymetrix Equipment

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 13 - A fire broke out in a PrincetonUniversity DNA sequencing and synthesizing lab on Tuesday, and a local HazMat unit was called to the scene, according to university officials.


The fire, confined to two tables in room 122 on the first floor of Moffett Hall, in the molecular biology department, was reported to fire officials at and was put under control by , a Princeton Borough Fire Department official said. No injuries were reported.


The building, initially evacuated, was reopened by although the lab, a core facility responsible for sequencing and synthesizing oligonucleotides for labs, remains closed, according to a Princeton molecular biology researcher.


While a fire official from Princeton Borough, NJ, described the blaze as not "very much of a fire," he did say it managed to damage an Applied Biosystems Prism 377 DNA sequencer and an Affymetrix GeneChip reader. The university is assessing the costs of the damage, which the fire department official said was in excess of $100,000.   


A HazMat team from Trenton, NJ, responded to the fire as protocol because of hazardous chemicals stored in the building. A one-gallon container of solvent, consumed in the blaze, was the only chemical involved in the fire, the university said.


The cause of the blaze is under investigation, though it appears an electrical outlet malfunctioned and had a "melt down" triggering the blaze, a fire department official said.

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