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McCrory uses small fire at Administration Buliding as his political punch line

Throughout the weekend, Gov. Pat McCrory used a small fire that occurred Friday at the state Administration Building as a punch line in his speeches.

"We said we were going to ignite the state's economy ... that wasn't what we meant," he joked. "But all of together work together to solve these complex issues we will ignited the economy and put people back to work."

A spokesman for the governor's office said a piece of equipment overheated and caught on fire. It was contained to the area but it damaged the computer system and put smoke throughout the first floor. It was put out by a fire extinguisher.

Fire officials drum up support for rule

Fire officials and electrical experts called a news conference Thursday to drum up support for a building code change designed to prevent fires.

Raleigh Fire Chief John McGrath said at the news conference at Fire Station  1 in Durham that there are as many as 70,000 electrical fires a year in the U.S. that could be prevented with a special type of circuit breaker, Ben Niolet reports.

"This small device is a very very inexpensive way to prevent a lot of them," McGrath said.

The device, an arc fault circuit interrupter, is now required in bedrooms in new homes. In January it will be required for most rooms in new homes.

The N.C. Building Code Council, which sets building standards, is moving to undo the new requirements. Home builders say the device is too expensive and is an unnecessary protection.

Kim Reitterer, a Charlotte electrical engineer and member of the code council, said the devices would add at most $30 to $60 to the cost of a $150,000 square-foot home.

"This is pennies, or less than pennies, for an important safety device, Reitterer said.

The council meets Monday and Tuesday in Raleigh. Among it's agenda items is a vote that could begin unravelling the new building code.

Building Code Council to revisit decision

In January, new homes will be required to have a special circuit breaker that can prevent electrical fires.

The state Building Code Council approved the change to the state's code, saying the devices would add as little as $60 to the cost of a smaller home and as much as a few hundred dollars.

"It all comes down to the value of a single life," said Kim Reitterer, a Charlotte electrical engineer on the council.

But homebuilders are fighting to repeal the requirement, calling it an unnecessary precaution that will make homes more expensive, adding as much as $1,000 to the cost of a 3,000-square-foot home.

The 17 members of the Building Code Council narrowly approved the requirement earlier this year, but a routine bill adopted by the legislature this summer included language ordering them to rethink the decision.

When the council meets early next week, it is scheduled to consider reversing the decision.

It is not clear exactly who in the legislature required the code council to revisit the issue. (N&O)

Bigger and better

Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight said he'll reopen his restaurant around Labor Day.

Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe burned to the ground on April 30, but rebuilding has already begun at the site along the Nag's Head-Manteo causeway, Andy Curliss reports.

The new restaurant will be two stories, instead of one, and 15,000 square feet, instead of just 9,000. It will also have a sprinkler system.

Construction costs have been estimated at $1.2 million, according to a story in the Virginian Pilot.

Basnight told Dome he's optimistic that the work will be finished this summer.

"We hope to be open Sept. 1," he said.

Lone Cedar burns

A fire at state Senate leader Marc Basnight's restaurant on April 30, 2007, destroyed nearly all of the building, according to reports. (Photo courtesy of the town of Nag's Head)

Lone Cedar burns

Lone Cedar burns

A fire at state Senate leader Marc Basnight's restaurant on April 30, 2007, destroyed nearly all of the building, according to reports.

Basnight's restaurant burns

A popular Nags Head restaurant owned by state Senate leader Marc Basnight suffered major damage from a fire early this morning, according to town officials.

Nags Head officials reported that the town's Fire and Rescue Division responded to a two-alarm fire at Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe at 12:56 a.m. today.

No injuries were reported, but town officials said damage to the restaurant is expected to exceed $1 million.

"It's just about a total loss," said Roberta Thuman, a spokeswoman for the town. "About the only thing standing is the kitchen."

Thuman said this morning that the cause of the fire has not been determined. 

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