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Bonfire Builders Said Broke Rules

November 25, 1999

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) _ Texas A&M University officials Wednesday rejected a former professor’s speculation that last week’s deadly collapse of a tower of bonfire logs occurred because students failed to follow safety features.

Larry Grosse, a former A&M construction science professor who for 13 years refined safety techniques for the four-story, 7,000-log structure, suggested that the students had failed to interlock its layers or set poles into the ground as in previous years.

``Our best information ... indicates that what Larry Grosse described as ‘should have happened’ did happen,″ Cynthia Lawson, executive director of university relations, said in a written statement Wednesday. ``However, we obviously want to investigate this further.″

Twelve people died and 27 were injured when the 40-foot log tower collapsed Nov. 18.

University administrator Rusty Thompson also confirmed on Tuesday that underclassmen had been working on the upper levels of the stack, a violation of university guidelines. All but two of those killed were underclassmen.

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