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Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Investigation into fire remains open

By Margie Wuebker
Officials continue to investigate a Friday afternoon fire at the Mersman Furniture Co. that is believed to be suspicious in nature.
Celina firefighters responding to the 4:41 p.m. call at 500 W. Wayne St. found two minor fires at the north end of the three-story building. Fire chief Doug Kuhn attributed smouldering sawdust in one area to careless smoking.
The other fire, located in an area where demolition is underway, was spotted by workers at the scene. They attempted to extinguish flames before summoning firefighters.
"The workers reported hearing footsteps in the area before the fire," Kuhn told The Daily Standard. "However, there was no one else inside the building when we arrived."
Two fire trucks, two support vehicles and 12 firefighters remained on the scene until 7:40 p.m. Men returned to the scene periodically to check for hot spots.
Celina Police tracked down and identified several youths seen in the immediate area Friday afternoon. However, Chief Dave Slusser indicated they are no longer considered suspects.
"The initial investigation points to two different ignition sources with one fire on the second floor and the other on the third floor," Slusser said. "The investigation remains open at this point."
Neither fire resulted in any damage.
The factory was used for woodworking and furniture making throughout most of the 20th century before closing for good in the mid-1990s.
Additional online story on this date
An 87-year-old man helped his elderly cousin out of their burning home but did not manage to escape himself in a fire Sunday night in Uniopolis.
Robert Frick, the owner of the home along West Oak Street that was nearly destroyed in the fiery blaze, was pronounced dead at the scene. [More]
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