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Posted September 26, 2011
At approximately 3:30 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, Columbia Fire Department fire fighters and MU Police Department (MUPD) officers responded to a fire alarm in Ellis Library. Upon arrival, fire crews discovered several small fires in offices of the north end of the main level of the building. The fires were localized in two areas, photocopy services and circulation/interlibrary loan, and they were suppressed by automatic fire sprinklers in those areas.
Fire fighters extinguished the flames, which resulted in moderate damage to these two locations. Significant amounts of water were released in the time between the initial alarms and when emergency personnel determined that no other fires remained in the building. As a result, the northern and eastern portions of the first floor of Ellis Library, as well as areas of the lower level housing the State Historical Society, received water damage.
At approximately noon on Sept. 10, officers from the MUPD arrested Christopher C. Kelley of Columbia on suspicion of committing arson, burglary and vandalism in Ellis Library. Mr. Kelley turned himself in, and additional details cannot be released due to the ongoing investigation.
At this time, the northeast quadrant of the first floor is closed to the public. This includes
- the Circulation/Reserve/Interlibrary Loan offices,
- the 1st floor men’s restroom,
- the Government Documents collection and staff offices,
- the print Reference Collection,
- the Cisco TelePresence room, and
- the student computer lab.
The Administration Offices are accessible by a route past the south side of the elevators. Please look for the signs.
The Circulation/Reserve/Interlibrary Loan service point has been temporarily relocated to the northwest corner of the first floor.
We estimate that it will take most of the fall semester to finish the cleanup, renovate the fire-damaged offices and replace carpet and tile in the water-damaged areas.
We appreciate your support and understanding during this time. And we apologize for any inconvenience.