No word on cause of Houghton apartment building fire
By Jennifer Donovan
Investigation into a fire that destroyed an apartment building on College Avenue in Houghton last March has stalled. The state fire marshal’s report states that the cause is ‘yet unofficial,’ adding that a natural gas leak was the possible cause.
The report lists the cause as “under investigation” and says that factors contributing to the start of the fire are “undetermined.”
“Cause yet unofficial” is a designation that leaves the incident open to further investigation. An official of the Houghton Fire Department said that further investigation is up to the fire marshal or Michigan State Police. Neither agency seems to be pursuing the investigation. Copper Beacon emailed both agencies. The fire marshal’s office in Lansing replied that they are not pursuing the investigation. We received no response from two emails to the Michigan State Police.
We asked SEMCO Energy if they are looking into a possible gas leak. To date, they have not replied.
The building’s eight tenants all escaped unharmed. There were five vehicles on the premises at the time of the incident, and four of them were destroyed in the fire.
The fire marshal estimated the two-story building to be worth approximately $500,000, with another $250,000 in contents lost.
The owner, Gregg Nominelli, could not be reached for comment.