Fire Investigators Piece the Puzzle as Restoration Moves Forward

6 years 3 months 3 weeks 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
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Callaway County deputies found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop early Sunday morning, according to... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 10:05:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
SLATER - Gloria is a 2-year-old pit bull who was found near Slater, Missouri after someone shot her in the... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 8:26:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Missouri's Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley took a cue from President Donald Trump on Sunday and said... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 4:50:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
(CNN) - For many, the fight against Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation was about more than a seat on the Supreme Court.... More >>
12 hours ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 3:04:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
(CNN) - Florida Panhandle officials are trying to figure out how to resume classes after Hurricane Michael damaged or destroyed... More >>
12 hours ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 2:29:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Dozens of people gathered at Burr Oak Brewing on Sunday for the second annual Columbia Micro-Con. STL... More >>
12 hours ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 2:09:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
MOBERLY- The Randolph County Sheriff's Office is looking for a suspect after an armed robbery at Dino Mart on 1634... More >>
14 hours ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 12:41:00 PM CDT October 14, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - A field of flowers swept through Columbia on Sunday in honor of the Alzheimer's Association’s 2018 Walk to... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, October 14 2018 Oct 14, 2018 Sunday, October 14, 2018 8:54:00 AM CDT October 14, 2018 in News
HARTSBURG - The Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival is celebrating its 27th year with traditions like live music and picking your own... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 13 2018 Oct 13, 2018 Saturday, October 13, 2018 11:05:00 PM CDT October 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - City officials declared the month of October Disability Employment Awareness Month at a fundraiser in Stephens Lake Park... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 13 2018 Oct 13, 2018 Saturday, October 13, 2018 10:39:00 PM CDT October 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The first ever Marc’s Dash 5K and Fun Run was held Saturday to honor a fallen firefighter. ... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 13 2018 Oct 13, 2018 Saturday, October 13, 2018 8:43:00 PM CDT October 13, 2018 in News
FULTON - "Richard's Family" said its goal is giving a safe space and a sense of family for LGBTQ youth.... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 13 2018 Oct 13, 2018 Saturday, October 13, 2018 7:18:00 PM CDT October 13, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Hurricane Michael's death toll climbed to 18 Saturday, after another victim was discovered in Virginia. Fears were... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 13 2018 Oct 13, 2018 Saturday, October 13, 2018 6:23:00 PM CDT October 13, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Police arrested a man wanted for attempted murder and attempted kidnapping Saturday. Police were investigating an unrelated... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 13 2018 Oct 13, 2018 Saturday, October 13, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT October 13, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The percentage of young kids in the US who received no vaccine doses has continued to rise, as... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 13 2018 Oct 13, 2018 Saturday, October 13, 2018 2:33:00 PM CDT October 13, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri man who previously served 17 years in prison for two killings has been found... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 13 2018 Oct 13, 2018 Saturday, October 13, 2018 2:14:15 PM CDT October 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man was shot and killed early Saturday morning on Rice Road and Ballenger Lane. Police... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 13 2018 Oct 13, 2018 Saturday, October 13, 2018 8:22:00 AM CDT October 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Eight weeks into the high school football season and we're back to the chilly, fall nights. Our... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 12 2018 Oct 12, 2018 Friday, October 12, 2018 6:03:00 PM CDT October 12, 2018 in Friday Night Fever
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 38°
4am 38°
5am 38°
6am 37°
7am 37°