Meridian Star

February 26, 2013

Threefoot building fire investigation continues

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

MERIDIAN —     Authorities have received a report from the Mississippi State Crime laboratory, which indicated that no accelerants commonly associated with arson could be detected from submitted evidence in connection with a fire that occurred in January in the Threefoot building in downtown Meridian.

    Tim Miller, chief administrative officer for the City of Meridian, said the cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Meridian Fire and Police Departments.

    Miller said in addition to the lack of evidence of an accelerant, surveillance videos from the area have yielded negative results as to possible suspects.  

    "At this time, the exact circumstances which led to the fire being started and who might have started the fire are still unknown," said the report released by Miller.

    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.

    If anyone has information concerning the fire, they are asked to contact the Meridian Fire Department (601) 485-1824, Meridian Police Department (601) 485-1859 or Crime stoppers (601) 485-1860.