Investigators with the Division of State Fire Marshal, the Marietta Police Department and the Marietta Fire Department today ruled Monday's fire in downtown Marietta as arson. The State Fire Marshal also issued a request for the public's help in finding the person or persons responsible for the fire.
The fire, reported at approximately 5 a.m. on Monday, March 22, was ruled arson after investigators eliminated all accidental causes and found evidence of the crime of arson. The blaze completely destroyed the building at 190 Front Street which was home to Marietta Wine Cellars. Two other buildings, the Riverside Artists Gallery and the Front Street Deli and Bakery, were heavily damaged by the fire. Two firefighters were injured extinguishing the blaze.
Specific details about the investigation will not be released at this time because this is an ongoing criminal investigation.
"In the past, members of the community have played an important role in helping investigators find persons responsible for intentionally set fires," said Interim State Fire Marshal Donald C. Cooper. "We can now use this valuable help again. Someone knows something about this fire."
Damage to the buildings is currently estimated at $2 million but could go higher.
A Blue Ribbon Arson Reward has been posted at the property. The Blue Ribbon Arson Committee is offering up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the person or persons responsible for the fire. Anyone with information is asked to call the State Fire Marshal's Fire & Explosion Investigation Bureau at (800) 589-2728 or the Marietta Police Department at (740) 376-2007.