The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

IPSD finds Aurora fire unrelated to earlier blaze

 

March 20, 2018

Larry Holcombe/Daily Globe

Two men work from an elevated platform Monday afternoon at the rear of a downtown Ironwood apartment building that was destroyed by an early morning fatal fire on Feb. 21. Three people died in the fire at 102 Aurora St. The alley is blocked off during the work aimed at making the area safe from falling debris.

By RICHARD JENKINS

rjenkins@yourdailyglobe.com

Ironwood - While there was a fire call earlier that night at the same location, the Ironwood Public Safety Department's investigation into the Feb. 21 fire that claimed the lives of three people and destroyed two downtown buildings has determined the two incidents were unrelated.

"The first call, reported at (2:34 a.m.), was a very small cooking related fire that had been completely extinguished," Ironwood Fire Marshal Brandon Snyder said in a news release Monday. "The location of the second fire, reported at (3:45 a.m.), has been determined to be in a separate portion of the building."

Both fires were at 102 E. Aurora St.

It was this second fire that destroyed the multi-story structure that housed Chelsi's Corner boutique on the street level and two floors of apartments above it, before spreading to and destroying the unoccupied building next door at 104 Aurora St.

Mark Arnold Verrete, 57; Patrick James Somerville, 51, and Levi Dean Watkins, 27, all of Ironwood, lost their lives in the fire. Another three people were rescued from the building's second and third floor windows during the fire and taken to Aspirus Ironwood Hospital.

The investigation into the fire is continuing, according to Snyder, and while the area of origin has been determined; the cause of the fire remains undetermined.

"A team of federal, state and local investigators combed through the heavily burned remains of a building at 102. E. Aurora Street for several days," Snyder said, adding the heavy fire damage, structural collapse and weather conditions "hampered" the investigation into the fire's cause.

As it is an open investigation, anyone with information related to the fire is asked to contact Snyder at 906-932-1234 ext. 13 or snyder@cityofironwood.org.

 
 

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