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Report: True/False office fire cause unknown; microwave is a possibility

FILE - The offices of True/False after the fire.
FILE - The offices of True/False after the fire.


The fire that burned the office of the True/False Film Fest in downtown Columbia was accidental and might have started with a malfunctioning microwave, according to an official report.

The Columbia Fire Department released a report on the fire that tore through the film festival and Ragtag Film Society offices above Tellers restaurant at Ninth Street and Broadway last month. In the report, Assistant Fire Marshal Walt Goodman writes that he could not determine the cause of the fire but a microwave used shortly before the blaze is a possible culprit.

"I cannot rule out the possibility of an electrical cause, nor can I rule out the possibility of a separate unknown ignition source in the left-most side of a sofa couch or on the floor to the left beside it, based on fire effects," he wrote.

The fire caused $250,000 in damage to the building and another $100,000 in damage to its contents, according to the report.

The second floor, where the fire was located, had significant fire and smoke damage throughout, according to the report.

Everyone got out of the building unharmed but firefighters were treated for heat exposure. The fire closed down major Downtown Columbia streets for several hours.

Repairs are ongoing to Tellers and it isn't clear when the restaurant and bar will reopen. Cleanup specialists told ABC 17 News that cleanup and restoration could take weeks or months.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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