Five months later, fire investigation continuing
More than five months after a fire swept through the back half of the law offices of Glenn, Reeder & Gassner on May 25, the arson fire remains under investigation.
The office, at 205 SE Fifth St., was considered a total loss due to fire, water and smoke damage, according to Don Reeder, a partner in the law firm, which owns the building.
Although the partners were able to retrieve the computer server, electronic records, and paper files, nearly everything else was lost in the fire. They set up a temporary office at 534 SW Fourth St., the former location of Jefferson County Title office, but miss their former location.
"We've had a lot of bad news," said Reeder, a history buff, who was proud of the collection of historic legal books that the firm's founder, the late Sumner Rodriguez, had put together, beginning in the late 1940s. "It's been difficult because of the number of momentos that have been lost."
"Our office shared our books with the Jefferson County Court library," he explained. "Half were purchased by our office and half by the court library. Our collection is burnt."
The irreplaceable collection included Supreme Court and Court of Appeals books that dated back to 1859. "They're gone," said Reeder.
The partners, Reeder, who has been with the firm since 1981, Dave Glenn, who started in 1973, and Tim Gassner, who was hired in 2002, still don't know whether they'll be able to rebuild, or will have to look elsewhere. "The public adjuster is dealing with our insurance company to work out a settlement," said Reeder.
The Madras Police Department, along with an Oregon State Police arson investigator, have been investigating the cause of the fire, which was deliberately set, according to Detective Sgt. Steve Webb.
"Law enforcement, in looking into all aspects of this incident, has served numerous search warrants and interviewed multiple people," Webb noted. "Potential suspects have been developed and all leads are currently being followed."
The lead investigator for the incident is Detective Brent Schulke, of the Madras Police Department. Anyone with information on the case should contact Schulke through Frontier Dispatch at 541-475-2201, or through the Madras Police Department at 541-475-2424.
"This is an active and ongoing investigation," said Webb, adding that nothing further "will be released at this time."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.