Investigators say Wednesday’s fire originated in carpet warehouse

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Dept.

Columbus Fire Department Investigators continue to investigate the cause of Wednesday’s commercial building fire. Capt. Mike Wilson, department spokesman, says that investigators heard eyewitness accounts of the buildings occupants who reported seeing the lights flicker within three occupied businesses. A short time later, witnesses reported seeing smoke within the CrossFit gym. The owner of the gym exited the building. In the complex parking lot, the gym owner met a representative of Carpet Mania, who had exited the carpet store to investigate the source of the electrical problem. At that time, the carpet store employee saw flames through a window in the warehouse section of the carpet store warehouse and informed the gym owner to evacuate the building. Wilson says that police and firefighters arrived on the scene about four minutes after the initial dispatch. When they arrived, flames were shooting from a window and door of the carpet store.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Dept.

Wilson says that firefighters were on the scene for 29 hours, applying water to hot spots from Wednesday night through the evening hours on Thursday. Damages to the building were so significant that an excavator was called to the scene to assist investigators in removing debris and accessing flames underneath. Wilson says there was a total roof collapse in the building occupied by the CrossFit gym and carpet store, which hampered efforts to battle the blaze, as well as investigator access within the building.

Using eyewitness accounts, reports from the first arriving responders and evidence viewed at the scene, investigators have determined that the origin of the fire was located within Carpet Mania’s warehouse. This portion of the building is where firefighters reported heavy fire conditions as they arrived at the scene. Fire conditions within the structure were so intense that steel structural members failed.

Investigators have found no indication of foul play. Damages are estimated at two-million dollars, which included building and contents to the three affected businesses: Carpet Mania, CrossFit Retaliation Gym, and Advantage One Imaging Center.