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May 18, 2000

Kennewick Man not affected by minor Burke Museum flood

A pipe burst in a freezer system at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the University of Washington campus early this morning causing minor water damage

The remains of Kennewick Man, which are being stored at the Burke while a legal dispute is being settled, were never in danger, said Roxana Augusztiny, acting museum director. Kennewick Man is the focal point of a suit filed by scientists who want to study the 9,300-year-old skeleton and Indians who claim it as an ancestor and want to bury it.

Several hundred gallons of water were spilled during the flood which set off an alarm system at around 2:30 this morning. Damage was largely confined to cardboard boxes and other storage materials. The museum’s telephone system also was down for a short while.

Public areas and displays at the Burke were not damaged and the museum will be open to the public today.

“We were really lucky and just have a bit of housekeeping to do today,” said Augusztiny.
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For more information, contact Augusztiny at 206-543-2784.