By Melissa Garcia
DENVER (CBS4) – The fire that destroyed a historic mill in Windsor was set on purpose, investigators said on Sunday.
Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made the determination of intentional cause after an initial week of investigation at the scene of the blaze that broke out shortly before 2 a.m. on Aug. 6.
As the investigation was ongoing, authorities did not release suspect information or a motive.
Town officials said that the fire, which raged through the more than century-old flour and feed mill, was the largest fire in the town’s history.
ATF agents collected video and other evidence, including items that they sent to their crime lab, in an effort to find out who was responsible.
“Someone intentionally set this fire and caused millions of dollars in damages as well as caused harm to the people and town of Windsor,” said Debbie Livingston, a special agent with ATF. “You never know why somebody does something like this. It’s a horrid act. But, (I have) no idea why anybody would want to do something like this.”
The mill, located on 3rd and Main Street, had been under renovation aimed at boosting the town’s beauty and economy. It was just months away from its grand opening when someone set it on fire. A refurbished exterior turned into piles of burned debris.
“It’s just changed our whole landscape,” said Sue Buxmann, a lifelong Windsor resident.
She was saddened by the loss of rich history, more than a century of agricultural and commercial business blackened.
“I think about the history that was destroyed, and why someone would have so much hate that they would destroy something like that,” Buxmann told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
“It kind of feels like we’re re-living the tragedy all over again,” said Kristie Melendez, Mayor of Windsor.
Melendez said neither the tornado that tore through the mill in 2008 nor the blaze that burned it down in 2017 would keep the town from restoring the cherished landmark location.
Windsor Severance Fire Rescue and the Windsor Police Department planned to continue working with the ATF to develop a suspect and move forward with the prosecution of the person who started the blaze.
“I think there are a lot of leads out there, so I hope that we can come to some closure hopefully in the next weeks or months and we can find out who did this,” Melendez said.
ATF was offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to a suspect.
Agents were still conducting interviews and said that their work was not yet finished. They expected to submit a full report on the fire’s origin and cause to local authorities within 30 days.