Investigators Turn Up Nothing Suspicious in Fire at State Park

The State Fire Marshal's Office says the fire burned too hot and too fast to determine exactly what happened, but there's no sign of foul play.

Fire consumed the century-old buildings the night of December 9, hungrily feeding on the heart pine and cedar siding. Assistant park manager Rob Lacy rushed to help firefighters with his wife and children at home just 100 yards away.

Rob says, "You're awe struck a little bit by the magnitude of the tragedy because these are 100-year-old buildings and, you know, they're being destroyed while there's not a whole lot you can do."

The State Fire Marshal's Office has just finished extensive lab tests on the debris, but even so, cannot pinpoint where the fire started or what caused it. No accelerants were found, so it'll go down in the books as undetermined.

LT Joe Steadman of the State Fire Marshal's Office says, "We can't say conclusively what it was, however, upon examining the scene and the totality of the circumstances, there's nothing to indicate that it was a criminal act."

Visitors to Maclay Gardens don't come anywhere near the charred buildings. They housed offices and storage space, but they were 98 years old when they burned, and those who work at Maclay Gardens aren't sure if they'll be restored or simply remembered.

Matt Daugherty with Maclay Gardens State Park says, "We definitely want to do something to study the historical significance of these buildings. They were almost 100 years old, so we'll do what we can to do the best for the public and showcase what we have."

Fire investigators have estimated damages at Maclay Gardens at half a million dollars.