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Cause of Cox Institute fire in Bible Hill remains public mystery

The cost of reconstruction for the Cox Institute building at the Dalhousie Agriculture Faculty in Bible Hill following last June's fire is estimated at between $12 million and $25 million. The fire is still under investigation and the cause has not yet been determined.
The cost of reconstruction for the Cox Institute building at the Dalhousie Agriculture Faculty in Bible Hill following last June's fire is estimated at between $12 million and $25 million. The fire is still under investigation and the cause has not yet been determined. - FILE

Reconstruction costs estimated as high as $25 million

BIBLE HILL, N.S. – Almost four months after a massive blaze consumed the Cox Institute of the Dalhousie Agriculture Faculty in Bible Hill, the fire’s origin has yet to be revealed.

“The investigation into that fire is still ongoing,” said Krista Higdon, a communications spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Fire Marshal’s office. “The Office of the Fire Marshal file on that incident has not been closed as of yet.”

The June 20 fire in the section known as “old Cox” burned throughout the night and into the early morning and required assistance from nine area fire departments to bring it under control. More than 250,000 litres of water were sprayed onto the building during the firefighting efforts.

A spokesperson for the faculty said reconstruction costs related to the fire have been estimated at between $12 million and $25 million.

Bible Hill fire chief Joey Bison said he hasn’t heard anything about the fire’s origin either.

“We’d all love to know more about it but it’s all in their hands right now. From the fire marshal’s office, they’re not releasing anything at all,” he said.

“With the size and magnitude of that building, I imagine they’re still sorting out some stuff. That’s still all in their hands.”

Classroom and office activities that would have taken place within the Cox Institute have been relocated to other areas throughout the campus as well as to premises at the former Sears store of the Truro Mall.

And information on the faculty’s website includes an announcement from Dalhousie president Richard Florizone about the creation of the Agricultural Green Shoots Program that includes an initial funding of $650,000 to help researchers affected by the Cox fire bring their research programs back on track as quickly as possible.

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