“There’s no way to estimate how long the investigation will take to complete,” Griffin Fire Marshal Mitchell Cardell said. “The investigation is still ongoing. Right now, we’re in the process of interviewing people. We’re also waiting for the results on items we sent to the crime lab for processing.”
Investigators with Griffin Fire-Rescue have been assisted by agents from the state fire marshal’s office, as well as cause and origin investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
“I wanted to be thorough -- that’s why we requested assistance from the ATF and the state,” Cardell said. “They came in and helped process the fire scene. When you have different agencies involved, each agency is responsible for its own portion of the investigation.”
Cardell described the ongoing investigatory process as “slow and methodical,” citing “concerns regarding the structural integrity of the building” as key issues in the days immediately following the fire.
“We didn’t want to take any chances on someone getting hurt in there,” Cardell said.
According to Cardell, the Watkins family also has aided in the investigation.
“The Watkins family has been cooperative throughout the whole process -- anything we’ve asked, they’ve provided,” he said.
Cardell went on to say he also is interested in any information the public may have which could shed light on the cause of the fire.
“We would like to see any pictures or videos that people might have of the fire,” Cardell said. “If anyone has any pertinent information on the fire, I’d like for them to call me.”