Next step starts in probe of salon fire

Fire investigators have wrapped up their work on the scene of the fire that destroyed Mr. Thom's hair salon and home last week but still want to talk to witnesses and analyze evidence.

Medford fire inspector John Patterson said investigators released the scene to Oregon Mutual, the company that insured the structure, Tuesday afternoon.

When the company's investigators were finished with their examination, they turned it back over to owner Thom Martin.

Martin said that he and family members hope to sift through the remains for anything that can be salvaged. He also hopes to begin tending to clients in a new location soon.

The scorched shell of the salon is still standing, but the 5,962-square-foot home, made up of four historic houses, was reduced to charred rubble.

Patterson said the devastation was so complete that engineers looking at major appliances for possible ignition sources couldn't find anything definitive.

Usually, experts can examine burned appliances and tell if they were burned from an electrical short inside or a fire outside, but this fire was so intense and widespread that even the paint was burned off the metal.

Investigators will analyze data and evidence that was collected from the site.

They also are re-interviewing witnesses and following up on comments made during those interviews, Patterson said.

"We will continue until all leads are exhausted," he said, noting that no target date for completing the investigation has been set.

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