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St. Raphael's Fire Investigation Continues


It's day 3 of the investigation into St. Raphael's fire, but the clean up and search for clues are far from over.

Once the fire is knocked down, workers have to locate and interview witnesses and firefighters about the scene.

Then their first objective is to locate the origin of the fire.

Next they remove debris so they can get to the floor level. At St. Raphael's the roof collapsed, so there is anywhere from 3 inches to 3 feet of brick and heavy wood to clear.

Wednesday afternoon enough debris had been removed to bring in the State Fire Marshall's arson dog. The dog sniffed out the scene in search of any evidence of foul play.

The chief of the investigation says it's taking a lot longer than usual.

“It is definitely atypical," says Ken Adell, "It's a large, large building with a large amount of material that fell down into the areas where we want to look.”

Now both the steeple and a crane used for clean up rise into the Madison skyline.

Adell says investigators have been able to salvage a mosaic and some relics, along with the stained glass windows.

He says hopefully they'll be finished investigating the fire scene by the end of the week. That doesn't mean they'll pin down a cause by then.

The Madison Diocese decided Wednesday Monsignor Paul Swain will hold a mass at St. Patrick's on Palm Sunday, for the parishioners of St. Raphael's. The church is located at 404 E. Main St. Mass begins at 10:30 a.m.


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