Meridian Star

January 27, 2013

Threefoot building fire still unresolved

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Local crime and fire officials said the investigation into what or who caused a fire at the Threefoot Building earlier this month is still ongoing.

    Meridian Police Department Capt. Dean Harper, commander of the department's Criminal Investigation Division, is leading the probe, along with authorities of the Meridian Fire Department. Harper said the investigation is continuing.

    "There is nothing new with this ongoing investigation," Harper said.

    The fire reported at about 11 p.m. Jan. 7, was spotted by a passerby. The flames were coming from a room on the 12th floor of the building in downtown Meridian. The fire was quickly extinguished by firefighters with the Meridian Fire Department. MFD Chief Anthony Clayton said at the time of the incident that the fire was confined to a corner of a room facing the street.

    Physical evidence was collected and sent to the Mississippi State Crime Lab in Jackson for evaluation. Clayton said he hoped the crime lab results will give investigators a clear indication of how the fire started and the type, if any, accelerant may have been used. He said there was no timetable as to how quickly the findings of the tests would be returned to authorities here.

    The Threefoot Building, built in 1929 as Meridian's Art Deco Center, is the tallest building in the city standing 16 stories tall. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 18, 1979, under the Meridian Multiple Property Submission, and it was listed as a Mississippi Landmark in 2008. In 2010 the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed it as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.