Fairview Center in Salem could be arson

Credit: KGW

A view from Sky-8 of the massive fire.

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by KGW.com Staff and Mike Benner

Bio | Email | Follow: @MikeBennerKGW

kgw.com

Posted on January 27, 2010 at 6:39 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 29 at 12:11 PM

SALEM, Ore. -- Salem fire investigators Friday said the Fairview abandoned building fire was now a criminal investigation since there was no power and all the wiring had been salvaged out of the building.

Slideshow - Hospital blaze

Salem Police said the fire at the old Fairview Training Center on Strong Road SE broke out around 4 p.m. Wednesday. More than a dozen firefighting trucks were battling the three-alarm blaze.

Raw video: Sky-8 overhead

The Salem Airport control tower called in the first report of the blaze, which was confirmed by an airborn, inbound pilot. 

"When crews got on scene there was heavy flames coming from the second floor of the building," said Jeff Mack of the Salem Fire Department.  "At that point we started suppressing the fire," he added.

Authorities also said a vehicle appeared to be on fire.

The building was described on the public-source website Wikipedia as a former home to the developmentally disabled before housing Oregon Insane Asylum inmates. The Wikipedia article said the Fairview Center closed in 2000.

No injuries were reported.  "If this was an occupied building there could've been a lot of people hurt," said Mack.  An article in the Salem Statesman Journal said a parent-teacher conference was being held at the Heritage School, an adjacent structure, but that few students were around and there were no reports of anyone inside or any injuries.

Arson investigators think it will be Tuesday before they can gain access to the building due to nearly 14 feet of red hot debris still burning in the basement.

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