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Marshal asks for photos, information on blaze
The remains of the American of Martinsville buildings that burned Monday are blocked off by police. Martinsville Fire Marshal Ted Anderson said Wednesday that he was looking for photos, video and other information about the blaze that destroyed the site. (Bulletin photo)
Thursday, March 6, 2014
By BY DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Martinsville Fire Marshal Ted Anderson is asking anyone with any photos or videos of a blaze that destroyed American of Martinsville buildings on Monday to contact him.
“I am particularly interested in anyone who may have information,” photos or videos taken during the early stages of the blaze on Aaron Street between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. Monday, he said.
Anderson, who is working with an insurance adjuster and other investigators to determine the cause and origin of the fire, said the information will be helpful in the investigation.
“We also have spent most of today (Wednesday) talking to witnesses,” said Anderson, who has estimated the loss to be $516,000 — the same amount as the property’s assessed value.
It is too soon to say what caused the blaze, he said.
Anderson, who also is a city building official, said his office routinely inspects establishments that are open to the public.
However, the need to inspect property such as the American building — which had been unoccupied and closed to the public for a period of time — is not as great. With limited manpower and staff, Anderson said, the officials in his office focus on inspecting occupied buildings first.
Robin Hiatt, who bought the building in mid-February, contacted Anderson’s office and requested an inspection before opening to the public, Anderson said.
“We went in and pointed out some things that he needed to do” to prepare for that public opening, Anderson added. He did not know how much of that work had been done before the blaze.
Now, the building and some adjacent areas are surrounded by crime scene tape.
“Anyone who goes past the tape” will be charged with breaking the law, Anderson said.
His email address for photos or videos is firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at 403-5202 “and I will be glad to come and pick up any pictures or videos,” he said.