Last month’s fire at Family Dollar remains under investigation, but officials hope to have a final report late next week.
“The investigation is ongoing,” said Cortez Police Det. Lt. Jim Kingery.
Kingery said evidence collected from the scene has been sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab in Pueblo.
“The evidence is being analyzed for any possible accelerants,” Kingery said. “The cause of the fire, however, remains undetermined as we continue talking to witnesses.”
The state crime lab was asked to expedite the investigation, Kingery said.
“We should have a final report next Wednesday or Thursday,” he said.
Family Dollar is part of the Cortez Plaza shopping center on East Main Street, behind First National Bank. The interior of the building sustained heavy smoke damage and some structural integrity was lost as a result of the May 14 fire.
“It got hot enough that portions of the ceiling will need to be replaced,” Kingery said.
Tom Maley, owner of the building leased to Family Dollar, said a handful of nonprofit groups were allowed to collect any salvageable items from the store, and demolition crews are currently working to remove the final charred remains.
“I’m hoping the building will be cleaned out within two weeks,” Maley said.
City officials, contractors and engineers have examined the structure, Maley said, but he was unsure when new construction would start. Holding daily discussions with Family Dollar, Maley expects to meet with company officials next week to establish a better timeline for reopening.
“This is the first fire I’ve ever had, so it’s a new rodeo for me, too,” Maley said.
The adjacent Beall’s Department Store sustained significant smoke damage because of the fire. The store manager said she hopes new inventory will arrive and the store will be able to reopen within two weeks.
Osprey Packs, also adjacent to the Family Dollar, reported minimal smoke damage.
About 30 local and area firefighters responded to battle the blaze. No injuries were reported.