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Virginia Tech update on Prices Fork Research Station fire

February 13, 2017

A Virginia Tech research facility, part of the Prices Fork Research Station located at 4076 Prices Fork Road and approximately four miles from the main Blacksburg campus, was destroyed by fire Sunday evening.

According to Virginia Tech Police, the fire was reported to 911 at 8:51 p.m. Sunday and was 95 percent contained by 10:30 p.m. The Blacksburg Fire Department and Longshop McCoy Fire Department responded to the call.

No one was hurt in the fire.

The building burned was the construction and fabrication shop for Virginia Tech’s FutureHAUS, a multidisciplinary research project involving students, faculty, and industry partners that produced an innovative prototype that defined the future of smart, sustainable housing.

The FutureHAUS prototype, as well as building material and tools used on the project, were lost in the fire.

The project showcased integrated advanced technologies, energy efficient design, and sustainable construction. In January, the FutureHAUS team exhibited its work at an international trade show in Florida. See related stories:

Virginia Tech is working with the FutureHAUS group, industry partners, and leadership in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the College of Engineering to find short and long term solutions for the continuous development of this important project.

“While this is a devastating loss, it renews our commitment to build the world’s smartest, most sustainable home," said Joe Wheeler, professor of architecture and co-director of the Center for Design Research at Virginia Tech. "Our plan is to take the research and innovation from FutureHAUS, combine it with what we learned on our winning 2010 Solar Decathlon home, LumenHAUS, and carry it forward to create the best solar home for the 2018 Solar Decathlon Middle East.”

A preliminary estimate of the value of the research building, the FutureHAUS project, and equipment and supplies lost in the fire is between $800,000 and $1.3 million.

The research building lost in the fire was built in three phases starting in 1960.

The Prices Fork Research Station includes several other research buildings with a wide range of research projects. No other buildings or research projects appear to have been affected by the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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