LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg Fire Chief Greg Wormser says the fire that engulfed the Cottage Stillroom and Candle Factory was accidental, but the investigation into what caused Friday’s inferno is ongoing.
Firefighters were back on Cabell Street Monday to examine the scene.
Wormser says they found a hotspot on the top floor of the four-story structure and spent about an hour pouring more water on it.
“We will be checking on the building periodically because these hot spots can develop over time as the wind picks up,” said Wormser.
Wormser says Friday’s fire was an accident, but the investigation is ongoing.
“Everything leads to the fact of some sort of problem with the manufacturing or testing process, that the owners of the business were doing as part of their normal production.”
He says the call came in around 5:50 that evening, and by the time first responders arrived, the fire already made its way into the elevator shaft and had a clear path to the roof.
“This building was up to code. It did not require a sprinkler system like some other buildings do, and that’s based on its occupancy and construction type,” said Wormser.
He tells 10 News when first responders showed up, they had no issues accessing water, then officials ran into challenges when the second truck arrived.
“We were trying to flow more water than we were able to get off of a single hydrant, and so we had to switch our tactics and move to a hydrant a little farther up Cabell Street, and then on a different side of Point of Honor in order to get into a better situation with water flow,” said Wormser.
He believes the interior is a total loss but hopes the exterior can be revitalized.
One business owner, known as DiDi, was inside the building at the time and sustained minor injuries, but did not need to be transported to the hospital.
The owner’s cat, Sadie, survived the flames and was found Saturday.
“They discovered the cat hiding under some furniture, and they were able to bring the cat out to safety. So, that was just a tremendous amount of joy for them to be able to reunite the owner and the cat together,” said Wormser.
We spoke to a family friend Monday who tells us, coincidentally, she and another friend each set up a GoFundMe; and they didn’t know the other was creating an online campaign.