Sloss Furnaces fire destroys $10K in wedding materials - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Sloss Furnaces fire destroys $10K in wedding materials

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Investigators are not sure what caused the fire, but they suspect it may have been caused by homeless persons trying to keep warm. Investigators are not sure what caused the fire, but they suspect it may have been caused by homeless persons trying to keep warm.
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Birmingham fire officials say there was a small fire in an out building at Sloss Furnaces Thursday morning around 7:15 a.m.

Investigators are not sure what caused the fire, but they suspect it may have been caused by homeless persons trying to keep warm. The fire is still under investigation officially. The building was used for to store everything Sloss Furnaces needs to host weddings.

No one hurt in the blaze and fire crews got the fire out quickly but staff estimate that between $10,000 and $15,000 in materials - from sewn linens to glassware - was completely destroyed.

"The fire was so intense it actually melted the glass on the door," said Sloss Furnace Executive Director, Bob Rathburn, said. "You can see the metal shelves over there just melted to the point that we lost everything on those shelves."

Rathburn said a maintenance worker noticed the fire around 7 a.m. Thursday. Rathburn said arson is believed to be the cause of the blaze.

"This was clearly not a homeless person. It was too intense and then some other things that happened on the site it indicated it was probably more than one person and they stayed a while," he said.

Thursday morning's fire now has staff looking at added security for the site.

"We've got cameras, we're looking at onsite personnel 24 hours a day. Additional locking, security alarms, all that sort of thing is a part of the mix," said Rathburn.

He's also talking with other local businesses to tighten security.

"Working with some of the adjacent businesses to look at broader issues, security and safety throughout the whole region or area of what's called the Sloss Business District. We're just sick about it but we're thankful no one was injured," said Rathburn.

Rathburn said it may take until the end of the year to fully repair the damaged building. However, he said weddings scheduled in March should be okay.

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