Fire Marshal: Cause Of Book Mine Fire 'Undetermined'

Mar 19, 2018

A state fire marshal’s report is listing the cause of the fire that destroyed the Book Mine on Gaines’ Street as undetermined. The report says the scene was severely damaged by efforts to put out the blaze.

The remains of the Book Mine, on Gaines Street in College Town. 12/15/17
Credit LHatter / WFSU News

In December store employee Tim Laughlin recounted how he was able to escape the fire:

“I ran out the back opened the garage door ran out the back. There were two college kids coming down the sidewalk, and I said, call 911. And by the time they called 911, it was flaming out the back.”

The report lists points to possibilities such as the use of space heaters near combustable materials and electrical malfunctions. It also notes arson can’t be ruled out due to the scale of the damage. Laughlin said at the time of the fire he heard the front door chime and glass shatter right before the blaze broke out.

The building didn’t have a fully functional water supply and the store owner had reported that issue and electrical problems to the building owner. There was an ongoing dispute between the two over who was responsible for repairs.

The investigation into the cause of the blaze is now closed.