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Fire cause may have been electrical

| Monday, June 30, 2003

Although no official cause has been determined in the fire that destroyed the Morgan Management building, investigators are "leaning toward electrical," a fire official said Sunday.

Investigators are to return to the building today in an effort to determine what caused a raging fire Friday morning that destroyed the structure -- home to 21 professional offices, most of them doctors.

Butler Fire Department Capt. Bill Edmiston said Chief Larry Christy, building owner William Morgan and insurance investigators will spend the day sorting through the rubble.

Everyone in the building got out safely before flames destroyed the three-story structure, causing damage estimated to be millions of dollars.

As the investigation continues, Mayor Leonard Pintell said yesterday he has spoken with Gov. Ed Rendell's office about financial assistance to help Morgan rebuild or relocate in the city.

"I am trying to set up a meeting with Bill (Morgan) on Monday to get more information (to secure financial assistance)," Pintell said.

Pintell said about 90 percent of the doctors have been relocated to Butler Memorial Hospital. Also, Morgan has space in other buildings he owns, Pintell said.

The fire scene kept firefighters busy over the weekend as they were called to douse hot spots, Edmiston said.

"We've had calls off and on since Friday about smoke" throughout the burned-out building, Edmiston said.

Security guards were also placed outside the building "24 hours a day" because of the instability of the structure, Edmiston said.

"You need to keep people away," Edmiston said. "With too many people, it's curiosity killed the cat."

Edmiston said once officials determine the structure is safe, doctors will be permitted to go in and try to retrieve any of their records that might have survived the fire.

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