The investigation into the cause of a fire that destroyed two Douglas stores June 12 is continuing.
Alvarez said Saturday he is working with detectives from the Douglas Police Dept. to determine what started the blaze and how it may have ignited.
Alvarez did confirm the fire began in the alley behind Marylu’s Salon and spread quickly to the adjacent building which happened to be a former pool hall converted into a church.
“As far as where it actually started that’s still under investigation,” he said. “When we first got (on scene) most of the fire was towards the real of the Salon.”
Alvarez said everyone fighting the fire June 12 was concerned about the possibility of it spreading to the Melrose store on the left of Marylu’s Salon and to Brown Page Mortuary on the right of the church
“That’s our No. 1 priority,” he said. “Once we have a fire in progress we try to protect and limit exposures.”
Alvarez said what helped firefighters both nights was the fact that there was no wind unlike the 2006 fire that destroyed three homes and two apartments on Seventh Street.
Alvarez said many buildings in the Douglas area are the older type of buildings and few if any are equipped with the modern day sprinkler systems needed in case of a fire.
The church suffered a fire approximately eight years ago when it was a pool hall but was rebuilt and in better condition than some of the buildings in Douglas.
The Salon was not insured and the church building was insured but not the contents inside.
Alvarez said once the investigation is completed the buildings will be released back to the property owners.
“This is the second fire in eight years that church building has suffered,” Alvarez said. “There’s got to be some structural integrity issues with this building that they’re going to have to look at.”
The need for a new ladder fire truck continued to be an issue as the DFD continues to battle fires with equipment that is outdated.
Just over 48 hours after the two store fire the Douglas City Council unanimously approved the purchase of a brand new Pierce Velocity 100-foot platform fire truck, a project that had been years in the works.
Both Douglas Fire Chief Mario Novoa and Lt. Alvarez said this truck will be a welcomed addition to the DFD and comes with all the warranties.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday the DFD received a report of a possible fire in the three story newly rebuilt Douglas Regional Service Center on G. Ave. The report later turned out to be a false alarm.
The new ladder truck will be useful in instances such as this one had their been an actual fire as well as the two previous two fires not to mention the 2006 fire.
“With the ladder truck you are able to get water elevated coming down from a point where you can actually see the hot spots or where your problem areas are,” Alvarez said. “This will help us have more of an aerial visual of where the fire is at.”
Alvarez said the new truck will actually have devices on it that will allow firefighters to attack a fire from one angle and defend a second area from another.
The truck will be ordered in the coming days and pending completion of training by the DFD the truck could be up and operational by Sept. 1.
“We’re grateful for the city council’s vote, the unanimous decision on it,” Alvarez said. “We’re glad they understand our need and didn’t take this measure lightly. … The biggest benefactor for this will be our city.”
“We’re ecstatic,” the Chief added. “We thank everyone that supported us.”