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Fire’s cause still under investigation

A week after a fire destroyed two commercial buildings,officials are still looking to determine a cause of the blaze, saidBrookhaven Fire Chief Paul Cartwright.

Two buildings, which housed several businesses, were destroyedin the early-morning fire last Friday near the intersection ofHighway 550 and Highway 51. Cartwright said an insuranceinvestigator finished his work at the scene Thursday.

“He’ll finish up his paperwork and we’ll probably hear somethingfrom him the first of next week,” Cartwright said. “Then we shouldbe wrapping it up.”

The state fire marshal visited the scene last Friday and earlierthis week.

“The main thing we want to try to do is eliminate any foulplay,” Cartwright said.

Arson is not suspected in the blaze, he said.

“We don’t think that’s the cause,” Cartwright said, adding thatsamples have been collected and tests are being run in an effort tofind the cause. “We’ll just have to wait until we get our stuffback and look at the results.”

Cartwright said the investigation is winding down.

The chief said the first thing investigators sought to determinewas where the fire started. The blaze is believed to have startedin the far eastern end of the building that contained several smallbusinesses.

“Then they try to find out what was in that building that causedit to start up,” Cartwright said.

Cartwright said a bottom line dollar amount on damage has alsonot been determined. He expressed a desire to resolve the situationquickly so the property owner and tenants can get an insurancesettlement and start to move forward after the fire.

“We want to try to get it cleared up as fast as we can,”Cartwright said.