Origin of Midwest City/Choctaw fire still unknown

From Staff Reports Modified: April 14, 2009 at 5:04 pm •  Published: April 14, 2009
Five days after a fire that destroyed an estimated 70 homes in the Midwest City/Choctaw area, fire investigators are still not sure if the search for an origin will turn into a criminal investigation.

Midwest City Fire Marshal Jerry Lojka said his department is confident the fire was intentionally set, because investigators have ruled out any normal accidental causes. But that doesn’t mean the spread of the fire was not accidental, he said.

“Any fire investigation involves a process of elimination,” Lojka said. “And once you can eliminate the accidental causes it allows you to move on to something else. This was a people set fire. The question is exactly how and why. Honestly, it may have been a mistake, but we don’t know that yet.”

Lojka said his investigators continue to work with police and independent insurance investigators to track down leads on the origin of the fire, but that process could take some time.

“Since we haven’t established the fact that this is a criminal investigation, there are certain things we’re not going to do until that has been determined,” he said.

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