Roger Tory Peterson Archive “Minimally Impacted” By Thursday Morning Fire

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JAMESTOWN – The archive of world-renowned naturalist Roger Tory Peterson was “minimally impacted” by fire, and subsequent water damage, at the institute that is established to preserve his works.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown says he was first alerted something was wrong mid-Thursday morning as the fire alarm sounded at the center’s Curtis Street location.

At the time, Arthur Pearson says three staff members and a maintenance person in the building evacuated as Jamestown Fire Crews rushed to the scene to investigate smoke coming from the second-floor archive space; where a collection of books, art and film were on display.

Pearson says fire was discovered in the attic space above the exhibit, with the fire suppression system stopping flames before immense damage could be done.

“Anything that might have gotten a little bit of water on it is being dried, we will do a complete assessment over the next couple of weeks, but early indications are we are in terrific shape,” explained Pearson.

No structural damage was identified; however, Pearson says much of the museum store was damaged by water from the sprinkler system.

“It is sad that it happened, but it’s fine because all of that is replaceable, our first and primary concern is the safety and integrity of the collection,” furthered Pearson.

The Jamestown Fire Department has yet to release a cause of the blaze.

Pearson says over the next few days crews will work to clean the facilities and repair some drywall damage.

“Once everything is all dry and put back in place, we can reinstall the archive in their proper place according to the good practices that protected and preserved them in the first place,” said Pearson.

The institute hopes to reopen to visitors sometime next week.


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