Fire damaged Nikola Tesla's last remaining laboratory that crowdfunders raised over $1 million to save

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Just months after a groundbreaking ceremony for a $20-million restoration project, a fire broke out at the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe.

Located in Shoreham, New York, the facility is the last-remaining laboratory of inventor Nikola Tesla. On November 21, the fire broke out and over 100 firefighters arrived to help contain the blaze, according to a statement released by the center on Tuesday.

A side-by-side image of a building on fire and firefighters spraying water on the building
Firefighters spent hours containing the fire at the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe.Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe

"While we were poised to begin a significant renovation and restoration project, construction had not yet commenced, sparing us from additional complexities at this stage," Marc Alessi, the center's executive director, said in the statement.

"We were worried we were going to lose the lab that night," Alessi said during a press conference.

"Nikola Tesla's original building was pretty much fire-proof for the most part," historic architect Mark Thaler said at the press conference. The brick walls are still standing, but some of the roof has been lost, he said.

Officials haven't yet stated what caused the fire.

Who was Nikola Tesla?

Tesla was a physicist, engineer, and inventor who filed over 300 patents during his life. He is perhaps best known for the "war of the currents" with Thomas Edison over alternating current (AC) versus direct current (DC).

His patents paved the way for an array of technology including radios, fluorescent lights, and remote controls, to name a few. Several of his patents are for parts of one of the first hydroelectric power plants in the US. In 1895, the Niagara Parks Power Station started transmitting electricity.

The Wardenclyffe facility was built starting in 1901. Tesla wanted to construct a wireless system that could transfer power and transmit communication. The complex includes the brick laboratory building that sustained fire damage and a 187-foot wooden tower with a large steel ball at the top.

"As soon as completed, it will be possible for a business man in New York to dictate instructions, and have them instantly appear in type at his office in London or elsewhere," Tesla wrote of the tower.

A brick building with a black roof damaged by fire
The brick walls are still standing, but there is damage to the roof at the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe.Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe

In 2012, Matthew Inman, "The Oatmeal" cartoonist and creator of the game "Exploding Kittens" helped raise over $1.3 million for the nonprofit group TSCW to purchase the Wardenclyffe laboratory and eventually turn it into a museum.

The facility is now turning to crowdfunding again to raise $3 million for repairs due to the fire.

Read the original article on Business Insider