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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Cause of fire still is sought
No cause has been determined in a March 3 fire that destroyed much of the former American of Martinsville furniture plant (above), according to a city official. The blaze caused an estimated $516,800 worth of damage to the plant on Aaron and Broad streets in Martinsville. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
A lightning strike is the only thing that has been ruled out as the possible cause of the March 3 fire that destroyed much of the former American of Martinsville furniture plant, according to a city official.
“Other than that, everything is on the table,” said Martinsville Fire Marshal Ted Anderson.
Work is continuing to determine the cause of the blaze that caused an estimated $516,800 worth of damage to the plant on Aaron and Broad streets in Martinsville, Anderson said.
The $516,800 figure is the assessed value of the property which was destroyed, he has said.
Investigators are doing interviews, research and other work before reaching a final conclusion on the cause of the fire, Anderson said recently.
“It is a joint effort on the investigation because it’s such a big scene,” he said, adding there is no timetable for reaching a conclusion.
“Because of the size, we don’t want to leave any stone unturned. If I cut it short, I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence or doing my job for the property owner,” Anderson said.
The property remains sealed off, and anyone entering it must wear a special suit to combat asbestos exposure, Anderson said. On the Broad Street end of the site, there are massive piles of metal beams and other items.
Anderson said those items were pulled out of the buildings as part of the investigation. That took 43 days and a lot of heavy equipment, he added.
The metal and brick will be recycled, he added.
Anderson said the property has been turned over to the owner, Robin Hiatt of Stuart, who declined to comment Friday.