A surge protector into which two refrigerators were plugged appears to be the cause of the fire Sunday night that destroyed the Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville.
Martinsville Fire Chief/Fire Marshal Ted Anderson issued a statement that cited the device, which was in the left, front corner of an upstairs room, as the likely culprit.
He confirmed his opinion from earlier in the week that the incident was accidental.
The Rives, a decades-old entertainment facility at 215 E. Church St., erupted in blaze at about 8:33 p.m. The alarm was signaled by Martinsville City Council member Jim Woods, who happened to be in the area and noticed smoke and flames, Anderson said in his statement.
Anderson said his department spent about 6 1/2 hours fighting the fire and that the help from other agencies was essential and also from residents who provided food and beverages for the firefighters.
“During this time of such a tragic loss of an historical icon of Martinsville, our citizens once again have stood together to show support,” Anderson said in the statement. “This makes me proud to be a part of our great city and a servant of our citizens.”