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DuBois Country Club fire ruled accidental; Surveillance video helps investigators

By: WJAC Web Staff

DUBOIS, Pa. -- State police investigators have determined a fire that destroyed a building at a Clearfield County country club smoldered for hours before spreading through the structure, and the evidence was all found on tape.

State police at DuBois ruled the fire accidental and said video surveillance from inside the DuBois County Club's main building showed flames ignited in a storage room near the kitchen after the building was closed the night of Feb. 23. The fire smoldered for hours before "erupting into flames" and spreading through the building.

Flames spread through the building for more than 45 minutes before getting into the roof, police said. A passing DuBois police officer noticed the fire just after 2 a.m. Feb. 24.

State police investigators were able to recover the surveillance system equipment and hard drives from the fire debris and examined the footage at the department's regional crime laboratory in Harrisburg. It showed where the fire started and spread, police said. Video evidence showed no "direct of intentional human involvement" created the fire and that the building was empty when the fire started.

Police said follow-up interviews with employees indicated materials that were in the storage room were prone to spontaneous combustion and that the fire appeared to have started in the area of those materials.

The building did not have a sprinkler system and damage was estimated at $2.5 million, investigators said.

In addition to the state police fire marshal unit, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the DuBois City Fire Department, Clearfield County Emergency Management, the Dauphin County District Attorney Office's ignitable liquid detection K-9, Nationwide Insurance Company, Bloom Electric and the building owners and employees assisted with the investigation.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times