Investigators say North Vernon fire was arson - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Investigators say North Vernon fire was arson

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NORTH VERNON, Ind. (WDRB) -- Investigators in North Vernon say a massive fire that tore through a historic block of downtown on Friday has been ruled an arson.

Captain Brian Horton says it was originally considered just a "set fire," but officials are now considering it suspicious. He says they are following up on leads and expect the investigation to be a lengthy process.

"It's still kind of mind-numbing," said Horton. "You get used to everything here in town."

He said they've discovered multiple points of origin, but couldn't say how many.

While investigators comb the site, business owners are cleaning out because, Horton said, some of the buildings are unstable.

"All the tenants know they have to tread lightly," Horton said.

North Vernon Mayor Harold Campbell said the now charred facades were in the midst of a renovation. They were about a month from being complete.

"Things were spruced up and pride was coming into play," Campbell said. "Then…tragedy."

On Wednesday, he met with local and state leaders to discuss how to move forward. He'll soon be meeting with those affected.

"We'll give these folks and property owners a little bit of direction and find the resources they need to come out of this," Campbell said.

But even in a fire that displaced more than a dozen damaged businesses and sent firefighters to the hospital, Campbell said the town is fortunate.

"We're thankful this Thanksgiving we're all still here," he said.

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