Fire-damaged evidence removed

The Sequoyah County Times, sequoyahcountytimes.com
BYLINE: Courtney Coble

Sallisaw, OK

2010-07-12_Fire-damaged evidence removed_
On Wednesday police piled up bags of debris and chemicals that were destroyed by a Tuesday night fire at the Sallisaw Police Department. Capt. Beau Gabbert makes his way back to bring out more bags to be placed in black barrels, hauled off and destroyed.

On Wednesday police and specialists shifted through debris left behind by a Tuesday night fire that started in a room inside the evidence room at the Sallisaw Police Department.

Police Chief Shaola Edwards said they are taking the necessary precautions to insure the clean up goes smooth and quickly. Edwards said he was concerned with the possibility of contaminated water runoff and hazardous debris. He said Environmental Remediation Specialists were called Tuesday night to assist in the clean up. There were some hazardous materials like chemicals from methamphetamine labs that had to be disposed of correctly. Several barrels were brought in to dispose of the materials and the debris safely.

City Manager Bill Baker said the evidence that was damaged went years and years back. He said the fire destroyed no high profile or murder cases because those cases are held in a different room.

“Staff was bagging up large bags of old evidence most of Wednesday and Thursday. We did lose stuff but it was nothing current,” Baker said.

Edwards said the evidence that was destroyed had already been to the state crime lab and been processed.

“The main things that were damaged were already in the process of being destroyed. There was not any high profile or murder cases harmed,” Edwards said.

U.S Fire Marshall Tony Rust was called to investigate the fire. He determined on Wednesday afternoon that it was an electrical fire.

“That is the bad thing about these older buildings. They house some really old wiring,” Baker said.

Baker said the city’s building development inspector and an electrician are coming to inspect the building and the wiring. He said more then likely the wiring throughout the whole building will have to be replaced.

Right now, the employees who worked in the nearly 70-year-old building are currently working in the newer police department building that faces Chickasaw Avenue

The fire started about 9 p.m. Tuesday. Fire Chief Anthony Armstrong said when he arrived he found small flames and heavy smoke coming from a restricted room inside the administrative building on 111 N. Elm St. He said about 16 Sallisaw firefighters were on scene within seconds of the call and they put out the flames quickly.

“The building didn’t have a lot of structure damage, but did have a large amount of smoke damage throughout the administration offices,” Edwards said.

Edwards said he is hoping to get things cleaned up and back to normal soon.

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