TYLER, TX (KLTV) -Two years after a devastating fire in an East Texas town’s downtown district, the case remains open. Was it an accident or intentional?
It was on January 4th of 2017, that fire crews were called out to downtown Gladewater’s antique district, where a roaring fire had consumed two buildings.
Local investigators and BATF agents later determined only that the fire was caused by human action.
The blaze lit up the night sky over Gladewater and threatened numerous businesses. and it is still under investigation.
“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are still tied to this investigation. We continue to look for leads,” said Gregg County Fire Marshal Mark Moore.
Because the fire did more than $1 million worth of damage, resources from the ATF were accessed.
“ATF brings in a knowledge base. They bring in fire protection engineers; they bring in chemists,” Moore said.
Two years later, the remnants of the fire remain unoccupied, and questions still remain about what exactly started the blaze.
Officially, it was ruled as being caused by human action, but whether it was accidental or intentional has never been established.
“We have 10 years to bring cases to trial that we think are suspicious or could be incendiary, and this fire has been ruled a human act,” the fire marshal said.
Tony’s Old South Café has never reopened after it was severely damaged.
“It was detrimental as far as the structures themselves, but as far as the actual economics of the groups around there, the business owners rebounded well,” said Gladewater City Manager Ricky Tow.
The ATF is continuing to analyze evidence from the fire.
“Sometimes it takes a long, long time to gather all the data. We will not put the case to rest until we have all the questions answered,” Moore said.