Calif. Crews Snuff Unique Fire at Laboratory

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Fire teams battled a smoky blaze at the linear accelerator lab at Stanford University, bringing it under control without causing injuries. Authorities said the blaze didn't pose a threat to the public.

The report came into the Menlo Park Fire Department shortly before 10 p.m. PDT Wednesday from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, with focuses on experimental and theoretical research in advanced physics.

Callers reported heavy black smoke coming from the two-mile long accelerator structure, which runs beneath Interstate Highway 280 in the San Francisco area. Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said traffic was affected by the smoke.

Fire crews from several area departments responded to the blaze as teams worked to shut down the affected area of the accelerator, Schapelhouman said in a news release.

"Once that was done, firefighters used 7 large mobile carbon dioxide extinguishing carts, stored on-site, to suppress the fire, " he said.

The blaze was brought under control about 10:30 p.m., about 45 minutes after it was reported.

Schapelhouman said there were no injuries and the fire did not pose a threat to the community.

The fire appears to have started in a large electrical switching cabinet, but the fire chief said its cause will be investigated by firefighters and facility officials.

The research center was established in 1962 and houses electron accelerators used for the study of high-energy physics. It's one of 10 Department of Energy Office of Science laboratories and is known for its particle and chemical reaction research.

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