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Police investigate break-in at burned building


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Someone broke into the commercial building damaged by fire last week. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
Someone broke into the commercial building damaged by fire last week. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

A no trespassing sign posted outside the commercial building damaged by fire last week. Someone broke into the building over the weekend. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
A no trespassing sign posted outside the commercial building damaged by fire last week. Someone broke into the building over the weekend. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

A no trespassing sign posted outside the commercial building damaged by fire last week. Someone broke into the building over the weekend. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
A no trespassing sign posted outside the commercial building damaged by fire last week. Someone broke into the building over the weekend. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal


Police are investigating a break-in at a Franklin commercial building that caught fire last week.

Franklin fire investigator Craig Lutz reported at 8:15 p.m. Sunday that someone had entered the building on Commerce Drive through a window on the north end. Police are investigating whether anything inside the burned building was stolen.

Three businesses were located in the building before it was destroyed by fire Jan. 6.

The building had been covered in ice throughout last week after water used to fight the fire froze in the subzero temperatures, which delayed the investigation into what caused the blaze.

Whoever went into the building did not tamper with anything noticeable that might influence the investigation, Franklin Fire Department spokesman Brad Epperson said.

A fence was put up Thursday to keep people out of the building around areas where walls had fallen in, Epperson said. Any open windows were boarded up, and someone likely kicked in one of those boards to get into the building, he said.

“They don’t know for sure as to what the intent was, whether it was just a random somebody going in it to take a look, or if someone was going in to attempt to steal something,” Epperson said.

Franklin police officers will drive by the site more frequently, Epperson said.

The fire investigation stalled last week because firefighters could not start looking for evidence while the building was covered in ice more than a foot thick in some places.

Warmer weather during the weekend melted much of that ice. Firefighters were concerned that as the weather warmed parts of the building being held up by ice could collapse. But no major shifts in the rubble occurred over the weekend, Epperson said.

The investigation began again Monday but still could take multiple days to complete due to the size of the building and scope of damage, Epperson said.

The two businesses located on the northern side of the building, Miller Chemical Tech and D&H Cheer Co. Fierce Allstars, were destroyed. Doug’s Franklin Auto Care Center on the south end of the building suffered less damage, but the roof partially collapsed into the shop.

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