FREDERICKTOWN — Officials from the Fredericktown Community Fire District and the State Fire Marshal’s Office have ruled the Sunday fire, which destroyed a historic building in downtown Fredericktown, to be accidental.
According to Fredericktown Fire Chief Scott Mast, the fire started on the second floor of the building at 80-84 N. Main St., in the southeast corner.
“The point of origin appeared to be at ceiling level, and the cause was highly probable to be electrical in nature,” he said.
Mast said the building and its contents were a total loss, valued at over $200,000. The fire destroyed three apartments, two of which were occupied by the Miquel and Kelly Torres family, and Clarence Frye. These residents are staying with their pastor, Mike Smith of Fredericktown’s First Presbyterian Church. The church is coordinating the efforts to collect relief for both families.
The office of the Knox County Citizen, on the first floor of the building, was also destroyed. The staff plans to keep the paper on schedule using equipment from an associated newspaper in Mount Gilead.
The burned out remains of the building were brought down by a backhoe late Sunday due to safety concerns. The building’s owner, Dorothy Hoovler of Delaware, said Sunday she was unsure whether she would rebuild the building.
Mast said there were smoke detectors in the apartment where the fire started, but they had been disabled. No other working smoke detectors were found in the building.