Investigator: Arson only a possible cause of downtown fire

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Fire investigators are awaiting results from the state crime lab before saying what caused a fire that damaged a Broad Street building Friday.

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Firefighters battle a blaze in a building at 12th and Broad streets in downtown Augusta.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Firefighters battle a blaze in a building at 12th and Broad streets in downtown Augusta.

Lt. Carlton Bradley, of the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department, filed a police report Tuesday that listed the cause of the fire at 1162 Broad St. as arson, but on Wednesday he clarified that by saying it was only a possible, not a definite, cause.

“We had to list a statute, and by it being a building like that, we have to list it like that (arson),” Bradley said.

Several pieces of evidence have been sent to the crime lab, and results could take six to eight weeks to return. All that investigators have definitely determined is that the fire originated on the third floor.

Michael Osbon, the president of Julian W. Osbon Partnership, which owns the building, said Wednesday that he has not received the impression from investigators that the fire was an arson case.

Firefighters were called about 4:30 a.m. Friday to the brick building at Broad and 12th streets, where they discovered a male tenant trying to escape from a third-story window. The man was rescued by firefighters, who worked for most of the day to put out the flames.

Osbon said he believed the man was the building’s only tenant.

Six apartments and Downtown Dental, which occupied the bottom floor, were damaged.

Bradley said that there was substantial fire damage on the third floor but that most of the damage to the second and first floors was water-related.

Dr. Juanita Adkins, of Downtown Dental, said she is still working on a plan for what to do about her business, which had occupied the building since 2006. Adkins said that everything is “gone” and she’s still dealing with the shock of the news.

“There’s so much to do. It’s overwhelming,” she said.

She plans to contact all her customers soon after she determines her next move. In the meantime, they have reached out to her to show their support.

“I can’t believe the outpouring of sympathy and niceness,” Adkins said. “It has really touched me. I’ve got some lovely patients that are almost like my family.”

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soapy_725
43676
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soapy_725 01/08/14 - 05:30 pm
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0
oxygen, fuel and a spark are good combustion possibilities
Unpublished

oxygen, fuel and a spark are good combustion possibilities

soapy_725
43676
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soapy_725 01/08/14 - 05:31 pm
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Arson, electrical, spontaneous combustion, insurance, taxes,
Unpublished

Arson, electrical, spontaneous combustion, insurance, taxes,

raul
4846
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raul 01/08/14 - 06:01 pm
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I wonder if insurance would

I wonder if insurance would cover Dr. Adkins loss of business revenue.

nocnoc
42490
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nocnoc 01/08/14 - 06:57 pm
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Likely the Insurance Company will hire

Private Arson Investigator out of the Atlanta area to come down verify any findings.

Pops
8353
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Pops 01/08/14 - 10:09 pm
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The only tenant?

I thought there were thousands of people waiting to move into the "CBD".
How can there be 5 unoccupied apartments in that building?

kiwiinamerica
942
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kiwiinamerica 01/08/14 - 11:17 pm
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Curious
Unpublished

So the fire started on the third floor and the building's only tenant was trying to climb out a third floor window.

I imagine the cops have already had a word with this gentleman.

Aug79
7
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Aug79 01/08/14 - 11:30 pm
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Gingivitis!!! You win this time!!!

Seriously tho... Dr A is awesome. I can't say enough good things about this lady. I went to her as a second opinion 7 years ago, and never turned back. If she had to relocate her dentist practice to a van down by the river, I'd be in line, behind many other people she has helped out so much over the years. I hope she stays downtown, but whatever you do, Doc, stay strong.

corgimom
32260
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corgimom 01/09/14 - 07:57 am
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Pops, good one!

Pops, good one!

Little Lamb
45889
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Little Lamb 01/10/14 - 11:13 am
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Arson Angle

The arson angle is strange and confusing. Here is an interesting paragraph from yesterday's story on this building:

Firefighters . . . discovered a male tenant trying to escape from a third-story window. The man was rescued by firefighters, who worked for most of the day to put out the flames. [A representative of the owner] said he believed the man was the building’s only tenant.

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