Cause of fire at Ninth and Broad streets under investigation

BIANCA CAIN JOHNSON/STAFF
A building off downtown Augusta’s Ninth Street burned and collapsed after it caught fire about 1 a.m.
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A building off downtown Augusta's Ninth Street was destroyed after it caught fire about 1 a.m. Tuesday.  BIANCA CAIN JOHNSON/STAFF
BIANCA CAIN JOHNSON/STAFF
A building off downtown Augusta's Ninth Street was destroyed after it caught fire about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused a fire that destroyed a building off Ninth Street early Tuesday.

Investigator Neal Brown said he spent several hours at the building Tuesday but has not determined a cause.

Firefighters were called to the blaze in an old brick storage-type structure at 869 Jones Street behind Zion’s Barbershop, Brass Ring and Big Day Cakes at 12:57 a.m.

Firefighters initially thought the building was attached to the businesses and broke through a door to try to suppress the fire, but discovered the buildings were separate. None of the businesses was damaged.

Brown said the fire department has determined the building belongs to Joseph E. Smith and it was being rented to a carpenter.

Battalion Chief Frank Lanier said no one was injured and the fire took about 45 minutes to contain, but not before two of the walls collapsed, spilling loose bricks across the lot.

“When we arrived on scene, there were flames coming through the roof,” Lanier said. “It was a pretty heavy fire.”

Carlin Thompson, a nearby resident, said he and two friends noticed the blaze before fire crews arrived.

“I couldn’t tell how it started, but flames were coming through the building,” Thompson said. “We called it in but they said they had already received a call. It looked pretty serious.”

Richmond County deputies closed parts of Broad, Reynolds, Ninth and Jones streets during the fire.

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curly123053
5396
Points
curly123053 05/20/14 - 06:33 am
5
0
?

I thought they had recently arrested a fire bug? There seems to be a lot of fires downtown lately.

Riverman1
94183
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Riverman1 05/20/14 - 07:12 am
8
3
Let Me Be The First

"Downtown is on fire."

seenitB4
98427
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seenitB4 05/20/14 - 08:05 am
5
1
hahah RM

There seems to be a firebug downtown.

KSL
144449
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KSL 05/20/14 - 10:50 am
2
4
Shades of the early 70's?

Shades of the early 70's?

bdouglas
5782
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bdouglas 05/20/14 - 02:01 pm
2
1
"Firefighters initially

"Firefighters initially thought the building was attached to the businesses and broke through one of the business doors to try to suppress the fire, but discovered the buildings were separate. None of the businesses was damaged."

Broke through the door... ..."None of the businesses was damaged." Aside from the horrible grammar of "businesses was damaged", it sounds like one certainly WAS damaged!

bdouglas
5782
Points
bdouglas 05/20/14 - 02:03 pm
2
1
"Downtown is going to a whole

"Downtown is going to a whole other level!" as someone says...

jimmymac
48001
Points
jimmymac 05/20/14 - 02:55 pm
0
0
FIRE
Unpublished

I Guess this is just someone's attempt at urban renewal. There are a lot more eyesores left to burn.

Riverman1
94183
Points
Riverman1 05/20/14 - 04:12 pm
0
1
Seriously, it helped clean up

Seriously, it helped clean up downtown...sort of if somebody gets the bricks. But that wall is leaning precariously. Be careful.

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