Fire Marshal Kathleen Chamberlain said in a phone interview today that there “didn’t seem to be any natural cause” for the fire in the abandoned former Pinball Pete’s building on South University Avenue this weekend.
“We have not found a natural cause for it so we’re looking at someone possibly causing the fire,” she said.
“Whether it was accidental or deliberate, we’re not sure,” she said.
Police and Fire Department investigators were told that the building has not been occupied since 2001. Despite the boards covering the building’s windows, Chamberlain said, “there appears to have been relatively easy access.”
She said investigators had “reason to believe that people were getting inside.”
The Ann Arbor Fire Department was alerted to the fire shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday night, and 600 residents of the neighboring University Towers apartment building were evacuated while 55 firefighters from the Ann Arbor and Pittsfield fire departments fought the blaze.
Students were allowed back into University Towers around 2 a.m., according to University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham.