Cause of Athens theater fire remains mystery

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ATHENS, Ga. - Investigators said Thursday they have been unable to determine what sparked the blaze that gutted the Georgia Theatre last week, but it appears to have begun in a dressing room and closet.

Investigators did not find evidence of arson, and have classified the cause of the fire as “undetermined,” according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“The investigation to date has uncovered no indication of foul play or criminal activity that may have contributed to the cause of the fire,” said Dondi Albritton, special agent in charge of the ATF’s National Response Team.

ATF field agents, National Response Team members, the Georgia State Arson Unit and Athens-Clarke police detectives assisted local fire officials with the probe of the fire at the historic music venue in downtown Athens.

“It is the opinion of all investigators that the area of origin of the fire is the dressing room and storage closet located in the northwest corner of the structure,” Albritton said.

“Due to the extensive fire and water damage in this area, all possible accidental ignition sources could not, at this time, be eliminated as the cause of the fire.”


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