Tulsa Central Library Release New Details On Fire Damages

Tuesday, February 25th 2020, 9:13 pm

Mike Leitch and his team at the Tulsa City-County library, still have a lot of cleaning up to do at their central location.

"Fingers crossed that we can do it as quickly as possible," said Leitch.

Leitch, who's the capital projects manager for the library, showed News On 6, for the first time, damage from last Wednesday's fire.

Firefighters say a woman, later identified as Sara Bess, wadded up a bunch of toilet paper, stuffed it into a baby changing table and set it on fire in the women's second floor bathroom.

"That burned through the plastic of the baby changing station and got up inside the walls and started burning the insulation," said Leitch.

Heat from the fire also melted wires and triggered a sprinkler system.

Related Story - Authorities Make Arrest In Connection To Tulsa Central Library Fire 

That system sprayed water throughout the bathroom, quickly knocking down the flames, but water still seeped through the floor and smoke impacted some areas.

"That fire sprinkler system actually suppressed the fire, we believe, before the fire department actually got into that particular room," said Leitch.

Since Wednesday, crews have been drying areas out and testing the air quality throughout the building.

But Leitch says they have to make sure those samples come back clean before they can reopen.

Right now, the Starbucks is the only area open, and staff says they may open floors one at a time.

They want to make sure first though, it's safe for everyone.

"A library executive team will make a determination of when to open that floor," said Leitch.

Bess remains in jail facing a first-degree arson charge.

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