Thursday, May 8, 2003

Fire in historic building ruled deliberate



The Associated Press

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - A fire that destroyed a historic building was set, and several suspects were being investigated, officials said.

A $5,000 reward was offered for information that could help lead to an arrest in the April 25 fire at the Carlisle Building in this city 100 miles east of Cincinnati.

"We are now ready to take the steps needed to find out who did this, and we have every confidence that we will," Assistant Fire Chief Steve Gallagher said Tuesday.

Gallagher said the fire in the four-story building was started with an accelerant in a third floor hallway before it spread to the top floor. He did not say what type of accelerant was used.

The fire caused $600,000 to $700,000 in damage. Engineers said the structure is still sound, but water damaged the first two floors and several businesses were damaged in the fire.

The Carlisle Building has long been the main downtown location for businesses in the city of about 22,000 people. Local officials have said the fire will delay the city's redevelopment plans downtown.

The building, built in 1885 and one of the city's tallest structures, had been bought at auction for $226,000 in March, and its top two floors were being renovated and turned into apartments.




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