The cause of a fire that destroyed a Hannibal home on Friday remains under investigation.
"I did talk to HPD yesterday (Tuesday)," said Bill Madore, Hannibal fire chief. "They were following up with some more statements. It's still considered technically under investigation. Obviously the physical investigation is over as far as digging the scene out."
While the cause of the fire at 615 Grand Ave. has not been revealed, where it started has been made public.
"The area of origin was in the basement. I can confirm that. That's where the fire started," said Madore.
A resident of the house, Dianna Melton, said some men had been in the home's basement to remove scrap metal less than an hour before the fire started.
The fire chief would not discuss whether the fire's cause is believed to be accidental.
"I won't speculate," said Madore. "When they're under investigation we won't comment other than to say that both HPD and the state fire marshal are still compiling information."
Madore cautioned against drawing any conclusions because the Police Department is involved. Typically the Fire Department attempts to determine a fire's cause and origin. Beyond that the investigation lies in the hands of law enforcement, according to Madore.
"We do a lot of the physical investigation. We rely on them pretty heavily for witness statements. It's not uncommon for us to be working with HPD," he said.
While it is not uncommon for Hannibal Fire Department investigators to be used to determine the cause of residential fires, the decision was made fairly early to call in assistance from the state fire marshal's office.
"We did not utilize the departmental investigators mainly for the reason we were already stretched pretty thin," said Madore.
The blaze was not easy to investigate, according to Madore.
"It did pose its challenges," he said. "We had so much extensive damage with the structure and the fire load present contributed to that. We had the assistance of the Street Department there with a backhoe. We had to move quite a bit of debris in a certain area of the basement just to do a more thorough investigation."
After the investigator finished his work the decision was made to bring down the portion of the heavily-damaged structure that was still standing.
"We had a partial roof collapse," said Madore. "Heavy winds could have taken the house right on down, potentially. At the end of the day when we looked at all the factors, and with public safety being a priority, that's when the decision was made to go ahead and take it down."