Brought to you by WBIW News and Network Indiana
Last updated on Monday, September 28, 2009
(NASHVILLE, IN) - Investigators have ruled the fire at Little Nashville Opry Concert Hall in Brown County was arson.
Local and state investigators requested help from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives National Response Team last week.
The fire started around the stage of the music hall, but investigators are not prepared to say what proof they found.
The fire caused $3-million dollars damage and destroyed the facility.
The owner of the building, Esther Hamilton and about 80 others, have been questioned about the fire.
The Brown County Treasurer confirms Hamilton owes $72,000 in back taxes. Police say investigations into previous fires at properties owned by Little Nashville Enterprises will not be reopened.
However, investigators are talking with Morgan County authorities about a previous fire.
Investigators want to talk to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious or unusual at the Little Opry between 10:00PM and 10:30PM on September 19th.
Anyone with information should call (812) 988-6620.
Police say all calls will be kept confidential.
Scheduled concerts with country music stars Loretta Lynn and George Jones have been canceled.
According to the Indiana State Fire Marshall's Office, specific information regarding the fire and investigation will not be released; the investigation into the criminal act continues.
The Following Is A Press Release Issued From The Indiana Department of Homeland Security
The National Response Team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, ATF Columbus Field Division, Indiana Department of Homeland Security's State Fire Marshal, Brown County Sheriff's Office and Brown County Volunteer Fire Department investigators completed the on-scene investigation into the cause of the September 19th blaze at the Little Nashville Opry located in Nashville.
Christopher P. Sadowski, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Columbus Field Division; Jim Greeson the Indiana Fire Marshal; Robert Stogsdill the Brown County Sheriff as well as Dallas A. Kelp the Chief of the Brown County Volunteer Fire Department announced that the blaze was ruled arson.
Specific information regarding the fire and investigation will not be released as the investigation into the criminal act is continuing.
The team of investigators have taken photographs, recovered potential evidence from the scene for laboratory analysis and conducted over 40 interviews throughout the community.
The ATF National Response Team will depart Nashville today.
"The ATF National Laboratory will analyze the fire debris and evidence to assist in determining the cause of the fire. An ATF Special Agent Certified Fire Investigator based in Indianapolis, along with Indianapolis ATF agents, will continue to work together with local investigators to investigate this crime," said Sadowski.
"Intentionally set fires are a serious crime that can put innocent citizens and rescue personnel at great risk," said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson.
"I commend the agencies involved who have worked this case, and urge citizens to report any suspicions or information regarding the Little Nashville Opry Fire so we can hold criminals accountable for their violent and costly actions."
Anyone with information about the fire should call the Sheriff's Office Tip Line 812-988-6620. All calls will be kept confidential.
ATF's NRT, comprising ATF personnel from across the country, responded to the scene to work alongside state and local investigators.
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