City fire investigators determined a destructive blaze on Monday at the old flea market building on State Street was deliberately touched off, Fire Cheif Robert Farstad said today.
Farstad wouldn’t divulge many details about the ongoing investigation, other than to acknowledge the fire was “incendiary.” He said the fire department’s arson unit has finished gathering physical evidence from within the structure and determined a point of origin for the powerful fire, which took nearly four dozen firefighters roughly three hours to extinguish.
“The fire was in the rear portion of the interior,” he said. “We have an area of origin and that’s about all I’m going to say.”
The flea market was initially scorched by a blaze touched off on May 3. Fire investigators ruled that fire was suspicious and ordered the building boarded up.
But just 10 days later, fire broke out again. Only this time, the blaze spread throughout the structure and caused smoke damage to adjoining buildings.
The market itself was vacant and without electricity. Two families in adjoining structures had to be evacuated because of the fire’s thick smoke. In total, two adults and four children were assisted by the Red Cross.
Part of the rear of the flea market collapsed during the fire. And the remaining structure is being considered a public hazard.
“The building is most likely going to be demolished,” Farstad said. “It’s a very unsafe structure.”
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette: