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Battle Creek detectives investigating On Deck fire

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Battle Creek Detectives are now using furnaces to thaw out and investigate the cause of a fire.

The December 30 fire caused at least $1 million in damage to the newly opened "On Deck Sports Bar and Grille."

The building on West Michigan Avenue was once called Sports Page. The bitter cold and heavy snow has kept investigators from determining a final cause for weeks.

Using two tents and small portable furnaces, investigators plan to melt down the entire top floor, where the roof is already caved in. There's also the hazard of falling bricks.

"And then on top of that we've had snow and ice so we got a lot of weight on the structure on the floors on the walls  and thats something of concern," said Detective Scott Silverman, Battle Creek Police.

"On Deck" had just re-opened the month before the fire after some controversy. In April, the sports bar closed down over allegations the project was over budget and employees were not being paid.

Newschannel 3 spoke to one of the owners, Robert Buckhannon on the phone shortly after the fire. He told us the past money problems had been settled and business was good.

Detectives aren't allowing anyone inside to see the aftermath. They're treating it as a crime scene until they figure out what happened.

"Basically weve got one chance to do it right were worried about contamination," said Silverman.
To finally get through the painstaking task of finding a clue.

"Sometimes we have to look at burn patterns on the surviving wood that tells us -- just like you would see an archaeologist on television doing your basically with paint brushes and trowels your basically trying to look at every possible aspect," said Silverman.

Detectives don't expect it all to thaw out until Monday.