Columbia Fire Department investigators are looking into the cause of a three-alarm fire at the Brookside on College apartment complex. Sunday’s fire caused millions of dollars in damage, destroying most of the still-under construction apartments, but the owners plan to rebuild.
The Brookside on College apartment complex in downtown Columbia was scheduled to open in three months. The property owners now estimate only about 30 percent of the apartment complex will be ready for tenants this coming August. Only one structure remains standing in the 145,000-square-foot complex. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and Columbia Fire Department officials say it might be difficult to pinpoint the causes due to the extent of damage.
Earlier this morning, demolition crews knocked down the most severely burned section of the complex. This afternoon the site was quiet – except for Mark Nanneman, who was in a neighboring parking lot painting a picture of the rubble. He says he learned about the fire from Facebook.
"I've had a few people drive up, comment on the painting that I’m working on, and ask me if I lit the match, or something like that. So, there’s definitely in the air, a suspicion about what happened, because it is kind of suspicious."
Brookside officials estimate all the apartment units could be ready as soon as January.