Fire Investigators Piece the Puzzle as Restoration Moves Forward

5 years 11 months 3 days ago Wednesday, June 20 2012 Jun 20, 2012 Wednesday, June 20, 2012 11:12:00 AM CDT June 20, 2012 in News
By: Christian Bryant
loading

COLUMBIA - Under the midday sun, an operator in a skid-steer construction machine plows through rock with a hydraulic hammer, layering staccato thuds atop the hum of traffic. Construction and restoration plans move forward at Brookside on College while fire investigators continue searching for clues from a blaze that caused nearly $7 million in damages.

In 2010 and 2011, 723 fires caused nearly $8 million in total damages, but the two largest fires this year - at Brookside apartments and Business Loop 70 - top that number by almost $2 million. Columbia Fire Chief Steven Sapp said because of the severity of the damage at Business Loop 70, the case has gone undetermined.

"The destruction was so great, we were able to determine our area of origin, roughly, but were never able to pinpoint a cause of that fire. And we weren't able to rule out the unintentional causes of that fire," Sapp said. "We know that sometimes thats not only frustrating for the general public but it's also frustrating for the investigators."

Sapp and other fire investigators employ a number of tools to determine the causes of fires, most notably scientific theory and photographic evidence, but the difficulty lies in connecting the dots from the remaining evidence.

"It's a little bit like being handed a bunch puzzle pieces, and working through the physical evidence you find to put those pieces back," Sapp said. "The problem is that in a fire, many of those pieces are gone and they're not coming back. You may be left with a gap big enough so that once those pieces are in place, you really can't make out the picture."

Although investigations can last indefinitely, that picture is one Sapp says is worth developing. He references previous court cases that were were based off poor investigative practices. In those cases, innocent people were prosecuted and sometimes even sentenced to death.

Now, with more stringent investigation standards, fire officials make sure that their determinations are foolproof; if intentional causes can't be ruled out, the fire is categorized as undetermined.

The Columbia Fire Department asks that if anyone has any information about the Brookside on College fire, to contact local authorities.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - On Thursday, the Columbia Airport Advisory Board announced the TSA approved a security screening lane to open by... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 11:41:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) through the Mid-Mo Adult Learning Center honored 25 adults at... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 9:43:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- May is known for Mother’s day, Memorial Day and in Missouri, the start of tick season. “May, June... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 8:21:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – The Columbia City Council discussed a recent engineering study today centering on increasing traffic flow east of Columbia.... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 7:11:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - After two months without a police department, New Bloomfield finally has one thanks to the city of... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 5:50:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after Athletic Director Jim... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:54:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in Sports
MONROE CITY - Some people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease fight back, as did Michael Crager, the founder of Rock Steady... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:18:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services made changes to a family planning program, which the... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 3:56:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - In sometimes heated testimony, members of a Special House Investigative Committee looking into the Eric Greitens... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 3:54:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A report on a statewide rape kit audit shows that there are at least 4,889 untested sexual... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 3:23:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - With the holiday weekend approaching, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Save Our Air Medical Resources (SOAR)... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 1:28:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – More than 36 million drivers will hit the road during Memorial Day Weekend, according to AAA. Just... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 12:20:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A statewide program bringing together prisoners and puppies is celebrating a major milestone. A four-month-old redbone... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 10:15:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he thinks Kim Jong Un wants to do "what's right" but says it's... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 10:09:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
RANDOLPH COUNTY - A Huntsville man pleaded guilty to murder on Tuesday and received a life sentence with no chance... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 8:37:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
BUNNIK, Netherlands (AP) — An international team of investigators said Thursday that detailed analysis of video images and photos... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 5:58:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Potentially more than one thousand Missourians could lose their hunting, fishing and trapping licenses after a Department... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 2:27:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that President Donald Trump is violating the First Amendment when he... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, May 23 2018 May 23, 2018 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:10:00 PM CDT May 23, 2018 in Continuous News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 74°
9am 75°
10am 78°
11am 80°
12pm 82°