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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2010

Ohio U. federal grant to help cut microwave fires


ATHENS, Ohio — Ohio University hopes to keep firefighters from running to the campus over burning popcorn or other food in dorm room microwave ovens.

The school says it has been awarded a $388,000 federal grant, most of which will be used to buy 4,500 sensors for microwaves in the residence halls. The sensors can detect smoke in small quantities and will shut off the appliances to keep burning food from becoming bad enough to set off a dorm smoke detector and alarm system.

University Environmental Health and Safety Director Joe Adams estimates it cost Athens city firefighters more than $2,000 each time they have to respond to a call on the campus. Adams says the sensors should help reduce nuisance fire runs by at least 75 percent.

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