Jun 16, 2014 7:37 PM by Andy Koen

Formal fire investigation yet to be scheduled

PUEBLO - The charred ruins of a downtown building will stay as they are for at least a couple of weeks. An attic fire spread and eventually destroyed the building at 3rd and Court Streets that used to house Johnson Sport and Ski and Office Systems Incorporated.

Gary Micheli, a fire inspector and spokesman for Pueblo Fire Department, said the professional investigative work into the cause of the fire has yet to begin.

"We felt pretty comfortable the fire was not intentionally set. As for the cause of it, that is still to be determined," said Micheli.

Finding the cause means sifting through the rubble and closely examining the specific location and severity of all that burned. It's dangerous work considering the instability of the building.

"Anytime that the roof caves-in, that always causes problems," Micheli explained. "Are walls going to fall in because of the way the building was designed and constructed and now it's not in that kind of shape any more?"

He says process could take as little as a week or up to a month. Both businesses and the property itself were insured through separate companies. Even scheduling a date to get all of the respective investigators on site has been a challenge.

Shop owners near-by worry about the impact on their business.

"Court is a one-way street," explained Maureen Macias, owner of Strands Hair Salon. "A lot of people don't even know I'm here and the Johnson's brought in a lot of foot traffic and I'm going to miss that."

Her building suffered minor smoke and water damage from the fire and was cleaned up in just a few days. Macias worries about what the future hold for her long-time neighbors the Johnson's.

"They were always here earlier than me and stayed later and I just, that's what I was thinking about was geez, they're such hard workers, what would I do in that situation."


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