Investigators determine cause of downtown Tyler fire as undetermined

By Molly Reuter - bio - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Tyler fire investigators and the ATF Fire Investigation Team have finished their scene examination in downtown Tyler.  After almost a week, investigators say the cause of Monday's massive fire is undetermined.

What they do know, the fire, which destroyed three buildings on Spring Avenue, was not intentionally set.  They also say the fire started in the basement of 113 Spring Ave.  That's the law office of Dan Hearst.  Investigators say they went all the way to the concrete of building 113, digging out debris and pumping water, but they say there is not enough evidence to determine the exact cause of the fire.

"You have to look at that in the overall how you call a fire," said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Scott Sweetow.  "On one end is accidental, and on the other is incendiary, and by calling something undetermined, you are not able to conclusively, to a very high level of proof, determine the fire was accidental, or that it was incendiary."  Fire investigators say they do have a theory as to what caused the fire, but would not elaborate.  They did say, parts of Spring Ave. will remain closed until engineers determine the building is safe.  Engineers will also be responsible for determining if the front facade of the building is salvageable.