INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A dozen investigators responded to the scene of the downtown
fire Thursday afternoon. But they’re going to have to wait
for crews to get it completely put out before they can really go to
work. The investigators come from metro police and the Indianapolis
They plan to interview anyone who may have seen or heard
anything that could be related to the fire.
"They'll start with the owners, they'll start with workers,
they'll start with witnesses, they'll try to see if they can come
up with anything that maybe somebody saw, somebody heard. I'm sure
there are a billion different stories about what people think they
know or saw or whatever about the fire. Hopefully, they'll be able
to come to some conclusion, but it will take a while," said Captain
Rita Reith of the Indianapolis Fire Department.
A federal agency called the U.S. Fire Administration tracks
construction site fires. It says the number one cause of those
fires is arson, followed by open flame fires, such as trash fires
-- and then smoking.
Investigators are far from being able to say what caused the
Cosmopolitan to burn. But amazingly, even from piles of debris and
ashes, experts said they can determine a lot.
"There are ways to measure the charring on, say, two-by-four
studs that the home's constructed from. By the depth of char, you
can tell how long the heat has been there," said former fire
investigator Gerry Inks.
Investigators said those clues, and others, can help them figure
out just where and how a fire started.