LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The State Fire Marshal’s office has determined that there is no evidence of foul play in last week’s fire at the Maple Center shopping plaza in Longmeadow.
In a news release to 22News, the Fire Marshal says that the joint investigation with Longmeadow Police and Fire Departments along with the Massachusetts State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office, other specialized State Police units, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has been ongoing since the fire on Tuesday, November 23.
The fire appears to have begun in a shared common attic space above two of the involved businesses, where it grew and spread before anyone became aware of it. Video evidence from multiple sources shows the building burning for several minutes before the first 911 call. At this point in the investigation, the fire appears to have started in this void space above the Bottle Shop and Armata’s Market, which allowed the undetected fire to spread quickly. When Longmeadow Fire arrived, the roof of the Bottle Shop had partially collapsed and the fire had traveled to Armata’s Market.
“Because a final conclusion is likely some time away, we wanted to reassure the community that our painstaking investigation has not revealed any signs that the fire was suspicious or malicious in nature,” said Chief Dearborn.
The building, due to its age, was not required to have a fire sprinkler system or a full alarm system. Investigators believe having both systems would have helped to reduce the fire damage.
22News is continuing to follow this story and will provide updates as they become available.