HOUSTON The scene of Friday s deadly 5-alarm fire is still dangerous for the dozens of investigators who are searching for clues. It is also very emotional for those who knew the four fallen firefighters.
But there are several signs of progress as they narrow the search for the origin andcauseof Friday's fire at the Southwest Inn.
On Sunday, teams made a laser map of the site. On Monday they dug deep into the rubble. On Tuesday, investigators gave their most specific details yet of where the fire may have started.
We are concentrating on the area above the kitchen, the area in and above the kitchen, HFD Deputy Chief Ed Arthur said.
Arthur said they re trying to figure out why the flames spread so quickly in the attic above the restaurant s kitchen.
He said it is still not known what sparked the blaze or why the roof collapsed so quickly. He also said that engineers are now looking into the building s history to see if there was a sprinkler system and how often the roof may have been remodeled.
We re exhausting nearly every investigator in our division, Arthur said.
More than 100 people have already been interviewed. They include 60 firefighters, some of them among the injured.
At this point nothing indicates it was more than an accident, yet arson is still in the picture.
We are treating this as a criminal investigation, so we can t rule that out at this time, Arthur said.
Anyone with early pictures or video of the fire is being asked to share it with the department. If you saw anything, please call the HFD arson unit at 713-247-8900.
Deputy Chief Arthur expects to remain on the scene for at least another week. He said the final report on the fire will take several more months to complete.