Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Suspiciously timed Main St. fire not arson

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 3:14 PM

3911_Main_001.jpg
On Christmas, some Grinch chucked rocks through the windows of a building near 39th and Main. Two days later, the building suffered $20,000 damage in a fire.

The vandalism had led to rumors the blaze began with a Molotov cocktail. But the Kansas City fire department today says a defective water cooler was the cause. The fire started just before midnight on December 27.

The Main Street Corridor Redevelopment Corporation & Community Improvement District, a non-profit known informally as MainCor, uses the portion of the building that caught fire. The space serves as a base for MainCor's red-jacket wearing maintenance workers and patrol officers. MainCor head Diane Burnette says Brent Lambi, the building's owner, made the space available at no charge.

Burnette feels lucky. The building was empty when the fire broke out, so no one was hurt. Not much equipment was lost, either. A computer and some furniture were destroyed. But the heavy-duty Sprint phones and bicycles the "awareness officers" use survived. "The tires didn't even melt," Burnette says of the two-wheelers.

Lambi provided MainCor with another location. Burnette says the satellite office was open with full staff on Monday. -- David Martin

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