Fire Chief: Heavy Equipment Helped Downtown Investigation End Quickly


Investigators thought it could take weeks before they knew what caused the downtown Grand Island fire that destroyed three business, but instead it took only days.

On Thursday, fire officials announced it was an extension cord that sparked the Sunday night fire.

GIFD Chief Cory Schmidt says investigations generally start in the least damaged areas and work toward the most. He says a building collapse, like what happened to the building after burning for more than an hour and a half, often makes finding a cause take longer.

But in this case, Schmidt says just a little bit of debris removal uncovered the problem.

“We brought in an excavator to help clear some heavy items out of our way - upon doing that we were able to find the source of the fire quite a bit quicker than we actually thought,” he says. “Sometimes when we have a building collapse it is very very time consuming, here it took some time, but we actually were able to progress quicker than we had hoped, but that was a lot due to just the circumstances and the heavy equipment available.”

Schmidt says overloaded or faulty electric cords are more common than people think, and he hopes home and business owners will use the event as a reminder to check on theirs.