Smoldering fire slows investigation

By Layron Livingston - bio - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

ATF engineers and Tyler fire investigators are still assessing the damage done in Monday's downtown fire to see if, in fact, the face of the building can be saved. Though, keep in mind, safety comes first. That said, there's no denying why these investigators, from all across the country, are here, and the questions they want answered:

How did this fire start? Was it accidental? Was it incendiary?

They're not leaving until they know. Scott Sweetow is the resident agent in charge of the ATF National Response Team.

"We've got chemists, fire protection engineers..."

They have surveyors and photographers on two legs, accelerant-sniffing dogs on four and on wheels, a 90-ton crane.

"It's really like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You show up, you see where the pieces are, and you try to start piecing things together."

"The backside has pretty much burned out," said

Jeff Akin with the Tyler Fire Department said the sight is now fenced.

"We want to make sure that before we put our people in there, that we're not going to get some kind of collapse."

Considering safety, security and salvaging....

"It's just a historical value for the City of Tyler and we're just trying to preserve it, if possible."

Leaving no stone unturned. we're checking news video tapes," said

They are looking at every angle, including Chopper 7 footage from above, and following every lead. Like the issue with the exterminators reported to be the last in the building.

"You want to track it down to either eliminate it as something that might be the cause of the fire, or point you in the direction that would help you solve it," explained

"It's a very very slow, deliberate process,"

Officials said that fire fighters are now using foam along with water, trying to penetrate the rubble to extinguish those hotspots.

Reports from witnesses on Monday night first noted fire coming from the upper floor of 113 Spring Street. Tuesday, we reported that's where the fire may have originated, and authorities said that is a location of interest for investigators.