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Fire destroys testing lab

Two firefighters were injured while fighting a blaze that gutted an asphalt testing laboratory Friday night, officials said. One of the men from the Northwest Hernando Fire Protection District suffered first-degree burns on the tops of his ears, according to Assistant Chief Mike Nickerson. The other suffered a minor back strain, Nickerson said.

Neither man was taken to the hospital and their names were not available.

The fire started at 10:19 p.m. Friday at Asphalt Pavers Inc., 15100 Brittle Road, north of Brooksville. It gutted the mobile home that was being used as a laboratory to test asphalt, officials said.

Nickerson said that several gallons of alcohol used in the testing burned inside the mobile home. Other chemicals were stored outside the building, but they were not affected by the fire, he said.

The laboratory was unoccupied when the fire started. The cause was still under investigation Saturday, and officials did not have a damage estimate.

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