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Fire Hits Unfinished Army Biodefense Lab Fire Hits Unfinished Army Biodefense Lab

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Global Security Newswire

Fire Hits Unfinished Army Biodefense Lab

August 15, 2013

A two-alarm fire broke out on Wednesday in a laboratory facility under construction at Fort Detrick, Md., the Frederick News-Post reported.

The fire, which was contained quickly, appeared to originate in a Biosafety Level 4 lab -- an area that is being prepared to handle highly toxic agents -- garrison spokeswoman Lanessa Hill told the newspaper.

The building, set to be completed in 2014 and valued at $680 million, will be part of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. It will add more than 800,000 square feet of space to the research group's facilities, according to the newspaper.

 

At the complex, 17,000 feet of workspace is set to be used for Biosafety Level 4 labs and 34,000 feet will be devoted to Biosafety Level 3 labs, where research can be done on biological agents such as anthrax, according to the News-Post.

The extent of damage is not currently known and no estimate was available for the cost of damages, the newspaper reported.

Last week, an inspection team from the CDC examined newly constructed labs at Fort Detrick's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Integrated Research Facility for approval of research with "select agents" -- highly toxic and controlled materials with no known treatment options. 

This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

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