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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

September 20, 2010

Contact: Special Agent Kim Riddell
(614) 827-8474

Chief John Donahue, Delaware Fire
(740) 203-1300

Lee Yoakum
Delaware Community Affairs Coordinator
(740) 203-1015

Official Cause of Downtown Delaware Fire Announced

Investigators State Cause Is Undetermined

Delaware, Ohio — The National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), ATF Columbus Field Division, Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal, and Delaware Fire and Police Department investigators have completed the on-scene investigation into the cause of the Sept. 11 blaze on N. Sandusky Street.

The cause of the blaze was ruled to be undetermined announced Christopher P. Sadowski, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Columbus Field Division, Don Cooper, Interim Ohio State Fire Marshal, John Donahue, Chief, Delaware Fire Department and Russ Martin, Chief, Delaware Police Department. Investigators can say conclusively that the fire did start in the basement of the building housing the Little Sheep Day Care.

Over the course of five days, investigators methodically removed the debris from the heavily damaged and collapsed structure. The team of investigators took photographs, recovered fire debris from the scene for laboratory analysis, and conducted more than 80 interviews throughout the community. The ATF National Response Team departed Delaware Sunday.

Columbus ATF agents will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with investigators of the State Fire Marshal’s office and the Delaware Police and Fire Departments following through as laboratory analysis is completed, data is analyzed, and additional information develops. Investigators cannot unequivocally determine the cause of the fire at this time but will continue to investigate in an endeavor to find the missing pieces of the puzzle, said Sadowski.

We greatly appreciate the expertise, equipment and resources made available to the investigation, Donahue said. I can’t say enough about the tremendous cooperation at the local, state and national level; I also want to thank the Red Cross for their tireless efforts and the entire community for its patience while the investigation took place.

The investigators extend their appreciation to the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency for their support to the investigators utilizing the Emergency Operations Center.

The fire damaged structures have now been turned over to the property owners and tenants. North Sandusky Street is re-opened for traffic.

ATF’s NRT, comprising ATF personnel from across the country, responded to the scene to work alongside state and local investigators. The NRT includes a canine team, certified fire investigators, forensic chemist, electrical and fire protection engineers, and additional specialists. This NRT activation was the 24th this fiscal year.