The cause of a major fire that devastated Royal Dane Mall on St. Thomas earlier this month is still being investigated, with evidence that could help make a final determination having been taken off island for analysis, according to V.I. Fire Services officials.
Fire Services Director Darryl George said the agency has had a continued local-federal partnership with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which works alongside Fire Services’ Arson and Prevention Team to provide technical assistance in the field. In this case, evidence important to the case has been taken off island for analysis.
“We did have ATF on island,” George confirmed. “At this point, they have left and are going through the process of analyzing the evidence found and we are waiting for all the information to come back so we can do a final report. So, at this time, the fire is still under investigation.”
Asked about reports that ATF has linked the fire to others in the area, George was clear.
“That’s a negative,” he said.
Around 9 a.m. July 5 firefighters were still on the scene of the fire, which broke out after midnight. After about four hours battling the blaze, George said it was under control, but a lot of work – including salvaging and assessments – was still being done well into the following days.
George has said the fire was extensive, requiring the help of firefighters from three different companies, along with aerial backup and off-duty personnel.