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Cause Of Historic Orleans Theater Fire Undetermined

Last updated on Wednesday, April 10, 2013

(ORLEANS) - The cause of the fire that leveled the historic Orleans Theater will likely remain unknown.

State Fire officials have been unable to locate a cause of the fire, which was reported to the Orange County Sheriff's Department at 1:46 p.m. Thursday.

State officials have ruled the fire "undetermined," and with the amount of damage to the theater, investigators may never know what sparked the blaze that left the 120-year-old theater a pile of rubble.

The theater, anchoring Congress Square, began as a dry good store and was converted to a movie theater in 1925. It operated as a movie theater for more than 70 years until it closed. Current property owners, Ray and Tami Thompson, bought the theater in 2004, remodeling it and hoping to open it as an entertainment venue to promote local arts.

Firefighters from Orleans, French Lick and West Baden, who have aerial tankers, Paoli, Mitchell, Marion and Orange County Rural Districts I and II battled the inferno. Layne Construction brought three track hoes to the site to knock down the building and keep the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings on the square. TOPES was also on the scene to provide firefighters with beverages.

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