No evidence left to determine cause of Hamilton fire

A large vacant warehouse burned to the ground and another sustained damage in the 600 block of Joe Nuxhall Boulevard in Hamilton, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

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A large vacant warehouse burned to the ground and another sustained damage in the 600 block of Joe Nuxhall Boulevard in Hamilton, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

The cause of Monday’s fire in a vacant warehouse at the corner or North 6th Street and Joe Nuxhall Boulevard is undetermined, and probably will remain that way, Hamilton Fire Chief Mark Mercer said Tuesday.

“We have no idea,” Mercer said. “There’s really nothing left where we can find evidence.”

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There were no working utilities at the abandoned warehouse at 551 N. 6th St., he said, ruling out natural gas or electricity as possible causes.

“Neighbors did comment that people go in and out of there; it was unsecured,” Mercer said. “With that, we don’t know what the cause is. There’s nothing that we turn around and say somebody just left there before the fire. We just don’t know that, so for us it’s going to become undetermined, most likely. If we find out something later where somebody talks about it, or they say they saw somebody go in, we’ll investigate that. But there’s really nothing that we can even start to look at, at this point.”

The fire was reported at 7:21 a.m. Firefighters arrived at 7:28 a.m. Crews left the scene just after 2:30 p.m., about seven hours later.

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No injuries were reported.

Firefighters could claim two victories in fighting the blaze: Houses across 6th Street suffered melting of their vinyl siding from the radiant heat, but, “our guys took care of that really quick, and made sure we didn’t lose any property,” the chief said. “Obviously, there was some damage, but the houses, our guys protected those. And then we also took care of the fire that extended into the French Bauer Dairy building, which is an old, vacant dairy, and keeping that from becoming a burned-out building as well.”

The former dairy is the large brick building with a tall smokestack.

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