Quincy Police Department interviews under way in Newcomb fire investigation

Posted: Sep. 10, 2013 8:21 am Updated: Nov. 28, 2014 5:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy Police Department has started interviewing people in the investigation of Friday night's five-alarm fire at the Newcomb Hotel.

When asked if there could be any connection to recent dumpster fires in Quincy, Police Chief Rob Copley said a juvenile suspected of starting those fires was not in the downtown area Friday night.

Fire Chief Joe Henning said the cause of the fire will likely never be determined, other than it was likely "human intervention."

"Whether it was accidental or intentional, we don't really know," he said.

Henning said the department has had fire investigators on scene every day.

"The intent of that was to try and determine where the fire started, and basically, if at all possible, what caused that fire to start," he said. "We made the decision very early on that we were not going to put people inside that structure for safety purposes."

Henning said investigators have looked at the building as sections have been peeled away.

"I can tell you that our determination has been that the fire started in the southeast portion of the building addition of the structure," he said. "The fire then spread either through a window or a hallway, but spread kind of north and west into the main portion of the structure and worked its way down a hallway up through the void spaces and extended upward. And that's where the fire broke through the ceiling."

Henning said there were three reported injuries to firefighters. One firefighter tripped over a fire hose, while two other suffered from smoke inhalation.

"In all, we had 24 firefighters that were called in off duty, in addition to the on-duty personnel," he said. "The total cost of the called-in personnel was about $4,500 for the night. That does not include the cost of our fire investigators."