Meridian Star

January 17, 2013

Threefoot fire probe continues

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

MERIDIAN —     Investigators with various agencies are still trying to determine the exact cause of a fire that broke out in a room of the Threefoot Building last week.

    The fire, that was spotted by a passerby at about 11 p.m. on the 12th floor of the building in downtown Meridian, 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.

    Clayton has been in meetings all week in Laurel but City of Meridian Chief Financial Officer Tim Miller said Wednesday afternoon the investigation into the fire is ongoing.

    "There are detectives with the Meridian Police Department, investigators with the Mississippi State Fire Marshal's Office and fire marshals with the Meridian Fire Department all working on this," said Miller. "Interviews with potential witnesses are going on as well and soon I hope we hear what caused the fire."

    Clayton said at the time of the incident physical evidence was collected and sent to the Mississippi State Crime Lab in Jackson for evaluation. Clayton said he hoped the crime lab could give investigators a clear indication of how the fire started and the type, if any, accelerant may have been used.

    "In many cases these types of investigations take time," Miller said. "It's not like a homicide case where evidence is expedited."

    Members of MFD recon team had to force the front doors open. When the firemen reached the fire on the 12th floor of the building, they found the flames confined to a section of one room. The firemen were able to douse the flames with fire extinguishers.

    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.