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Several Possible Causes in Downtown Fire

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Valparaiso fire officials say they don't ever want to walk away from a fire scene and not be able to pinpoint the cause -- but even though that's the case right now with the downtown fire that destroyed a two story century-old brick building March 4th, they have been able to determine where it originated and a number of possible sources. Valparaiso Assistant Fire Chief Dan Lamb says the blaze began in the southeast corner of the basement in about a twenty-by-twenty foot area that included a water heater and boiler, fuse panels, a block of electric meters, a gas meter, a refrigerator and several plastic wheeled trash containers for tenants -- some melted to nearly floor level. The floor level, however, was not burned, down low, toward the north. He says the fire burned up and out, and though they're not sure how it traveled, he says it did go up a stairwell. Lamb, who was among the local, state and privately-hired fire investigators for property owners analyzing the damage at Lincolnway and Michigan, says there are too many things that could have started the fire to say with absolute certainty which one it was. The case is still open in the event one day something can help point to the exact spot.


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