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ICV center fire undetermined

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 6:21 p.m.

The cause of the fire that destroyed the Indian Creek Valley Community Center this past weekend will more than likely never be known.

Kerry Witt, president of the Saltlick Township Volunteer Fire Department, confirmed that the fire marshal had been to the burnt structure earlier this week.

“From what he (the fire marshal) said, it doesn't look good for making any kind of determination on the cause, so right now, it's just undetermined,” he said.

Merle Skinner, executive director of the Christian Family and Children's Center, who had a working agreement to use the community center with the hopes of buying it, said he was told earlier that it did not appear as though there was any foul play involved.

The center is currently owned by the ICV Lions Club and the center's board of directors.

Carl Sleasman, a member of the club, said a meeting Thursday will be held at one of the lower pavilions on the property since the building is unusable. Skinner said that because any plans to sell the center to the Christian Family and Children's Center was never completed, the ICV Lions Club and the center's board of directors will be the entities to make a decision on what steps to take next.

“At this point, they have ownership of the building and they have to decide about the future,” he said of the Lions Club. “We're going to wait and see where they are and what direction they'd like to go. They really have a lot of decisions to make.”

Skinner added that the partnership between the Christian Family and Children's Center and the Lions organization has been great.

“If they're interested, we'd certainly like to continue that partnership,” he said.

The Christian Family and Children's Center was paying the electric and heating bills while the Lions paid the insurance.

Firefighters from numerous departments fought the blaze at the center for more than four hours Saturday morning. Firefighters arrived at the scene just past 2 a.m.

It was the second fire in almost 20 years that damaged the facility in Saltlick. The building caught fire in 1995 and the center was rebuilt.

The center, at 628 Indian Creek Valley Road, was used for numerous community functions. It originally opened in 1953.

More than a dozen fire departments from Fayette, Westmoreland and Somerset counties responded to the fire. No one was in the building when the fire broke out and no injuries were reported.

Rachel Basinger is a contributing writer.

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