Fire that destroyed historic downtown Lexington building on Thursday ruled accidental

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Posted at 4:46 AM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 12:14:36-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A fire that destroyed a historic downtown building on W. Second Street and N. Upper near Gratz Park has been ruled accidental by the Lexington Fire Department.

Officials say fire investigators are in the process of coordinating an investigation/exam with insurance investigators.

Firefighters responded to the early morning fire at around 3:25 a.m. Thursday. A large crew worked for hours to put out the raging fire, which filled the sky with smoke that was visible across the city.

"Normally we can control the fire pretty quickly. Now you got wind driving the fire, and that just intensifies everything," said LFD Battalion Chief Chris Ward.

Daylight revealed just how much damage this building endured. Flames destroyed multiple businesses including a law office and a non-profit known as Lexington Writer's Room.

"I can't process it, to be honest. We built this place totally out of love, for the writer's community here," said Gwenda Bond, co-founder of Lexington Writer's Room.

At one point, firefighters used two ladder trucks to try to knock down the fire from above. An LEX 18 crew on scene says they saw scaffolding on the back of the building.

Fire officials say no one was injured. No one was in the building overnight, but the Writer's Room has 24/7 access.

"We had someone coming in to write at 6 am, who was the first person to let us know about the building," said Bond.

But now that the fire is out, Bond believes they'll bounce back quickly, and hopefully with the community's help.

"We all know how to be resilient," said Bond, who also told us that they do have insurance.

Fire officials still have not shared how they believe the fire started, but they confirmed it was inside the unoccupied home that's attached to the large white building.

Investigators were on scene all morning and you can expect crew to be on the scene throughout the day Thursday. Some streets will remain blocked off.