Fire at the Old Fort Madison deemed suspicious

An investigation continues into Monday's fire at the Old Fort Madison.

Fort Madison fire crews remained on scene Tuesday looking for the cause of what they've deemed a suspicious fire.

The call came in at 4:30 a.m. Monday, when the fort's site superintendent, Eugene Watkins, says a bystander in the area saw flames coming from the building. He ran to the Casey's General Store several blocks away to report the fire. Fire Chief Herren says had it not been for that man, they would have lost multiple buildings on the site.

Crews arrived on the scene to find the exteriors of two outer buildings on fire as well as a portion of the roof. As they put out the fire, they had to tear some of the wooden shingles off of the roof.

A stack of wood under stairs leading to a balcony was used as kindling.

The State Fire Marshal was not called because the Fort Madison Fire Department has its own in-house investigator.

Daily Democrat staff writer Joe Benedict reports that the artifacts on the bottom floor appear to be saved from damage, besides some getting wet. Benedict also wrote that the fort did have some antique surgical tools that Site Administrator Eugene Watkins, Ph.D., said now are covered in soot, but should be able to be cleaned.

The Fort Madison Fire Department and Fort Madison Police Department have yet to determine the cost of the damages.