Fire Investigators Piece the Puzzle as Restoration Moves Forward

6 years 8 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
ST. JOSEPH (AP) - As rivers and creeks in flooded eastern Nebraska and western Iowa crest Saturday, officials have begun... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 11:17:00 AM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Three men have been sentenced this week for the kidnapping and torture of a... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 9:03:00 AM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Washington University student is suing after he was kicked out of the private St.... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 8:56:00 AM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police Department increased its presence in Columbia and surrounding areas for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. CPD... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, March 17 2019 Mar 17, 2019 Sunday, March 17, 2019 8:35:00 AM CDT March 17, 2019 in News
AUDRAIN COUNTY - A home near Centralia was destroyed by fire late Saturday night. The Boone County Fire Protection... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 11:44:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri lawmaker who's introduced measures that would force adults to own handguns and young... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 8:29:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
SUNRISE BEACH - A Sunrise Beach restaurant became fully engulfed with flames just as crews were trying to get in... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 4:55:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- Columbia residents practiced sustainability at the Fix-It Fair Saturday. People brought in broken appliances, furniture and even toys... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 4:19:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - It's that time of the year again. With the weather starting to warm up, the Columbia Farmers Market... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 3:20:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri florists recreated artworks using fresh cut floral arrangements. The thirteenth annual "Art in Bloom" weekend had... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 3:07:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Twenty Columbia College students volunteered at Hickman High School and Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture Farm during "Service... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 1:41:00 PM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - For one cat, Bur Oak Brewing Company is both a home and a workplace. As a mouser,... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 11:22:00 AM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
(CNN) -- Parts of Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska are grappling with the aftermath of a powerful "bomb cyclone" that turned... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 9:35:00 AM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Around 2 a.m. on Saturday, the Lake Ozark Fire Protection District was dispatched to a... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, March 16 2019 Mar 16, 2019 Saturday, March 16, 2019 8:55:00 AM CDT March 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri leaders who are part of the I-70 task force are looking to stop a six to eight... More >>
3 days ago Friday, March 15 2019 Mar 15, 2019 Friday, March 15, 2019 10:19:00 PM CDT March 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- Organizers of the Citizen Jane Film Festival announced Friday the festival would not continue. Sponsored by Stephens College,... More >>
3 days ago Friday, March 15 2019 Mar 15, 2019 Friday, March 15, 2019 9:28:00 PM CDT March 15, 2019 in News
MONITEAU COUNTY - A California, Missouri man was arrested Wednesday night after leading Moniteau County Sheriff's deputies on a pursuit... More >>
3 days ago Friday, March 15 2019 Mar 15, 2019 Friday, March 15, 2019 9:01:00 PM CDT March 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri River entered flood stage at the Jefferson City measuring gauge Friday afternoon, because of recent... More >>
3 days ago Friday, March 15 2019 Mar 15, 2019 Friday, March 15, 2019 7:56:00 PM CDT March 15, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 38°
3am 36°
4am 36°
5am 36°
6am 37°