A mess hall used by Utah State University forestry students each summer has burned to the ground, a loss described by a university dean as more sentimental than monetary.
Logan and Cache County fire crews responded to the fire at 6 p.m. Tuesday, in the area across U.S. 89 from Tony Grove in Logan Canyon.USU Fire Marshal Gene Fehl-man and state investigators are looking into the cause of the blaze. Fehlman said he's looking into a report that workers had been at the building earlier Tuesday afternoon and had worked on the hot water tank's gas pilot light.
The building, valued by the university at about $210,000, was run by USU's College of Natural Resources and served as a mess hall and classroom primarily for summer camp students as part of the forestry curriculum.
The campground was initially run by the U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s and was later given to the university, said John Kadlec, dean of the natural resources college.
"It's sort of a historic building," Kadlec said. "Almost all the programs in the college have used it at one point or another.
"Most of the students that were there remember it with great fondness."
Kadlec said the campground's history makes the building's loss more sentimental than monetary. It's also going to create a problem for students scheduled for classes at the site in the summer.
"We're not sure what we're going to do at this point," he said.
But the building is insured, and Kadlec said the college intends to replace it with an upgraded, more versatile facility.