PIQUA — One week after a fire that destroyed the former Piqua Fish & Ice Company building on Ohio Street, investigators are still searching for a cause.
Private fire investigators were on the scene Friday using everything from a small track hoe to shovels and brooms to search foot-by-foot, and layer by layer, through the charred remains of the structure.
With each shovel of debris, investigators would look for clues, photographing and documenting any potentially suspicious items.
Chief Mike Rindler was also back at the scene on Friday, pointing out to investigators how, one of the main concerns in fighting the large fire was to keep the flames from destroying a nearby power pole and transformer. Fire crews from Piqua and Covington were successful in saving the pole, which, had it gone down, would have resulted in a large portion of the neighborhood losing electrical power.
As of this time, no information as to a possible cause has been released.
Piqua firefighter and fire investigator Bob Bloom said that a preliminary damage estimate to the building was $206,000 but that work is still underway to determine a total in loss of contents.
The fire began around 4 p.m. last Friday and, although the fire was knocked down in a few hours, it kept firefighters on the scene for several days, dealing with re-kindle and hot spots. In addition to damage to the Piqua Fish & Ice building, several nearby homes and garages also suffered damage due to the intense heat.
There were no injuries to firefighters or bystanders. A family of three living in an apartment in the building also escaped without injury.