MARTINSVILLE — Early indications are the cause of the fire that destroyed the historic Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville on Sunday night was not suspicious.

Martinsville Deputy Fire Marshal Andy Powers was reviewing drone footage Monday to help determine the cause of the fire, Martinsville Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Ted Anderson Jr. said.

“We’re going to work with the insurance company as well,” Anderson said. “We’re not thinking it’s anything suspicious. All indicators are it most likely started in the attic area, but it’s too soon to give a definitive cause or a rough idea.”

“I’m sure it’s going to be a total loss,” Anderson said when asked to estimate the amount of damage.

The fire was reported shortly after 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

“We cleared up this morning [Monday] 3 to 3:30,” Anderson said, adding firefighters then had hours of work to do back at the fire station.

When firefighters first arrived at the fire scene, Anderson said, “It [the fire] had an hour’s jump on us.”

He said flames were burning through the roof and the entire attic.

Twelve to 15 Martinsville firefighters and several dozen firefighters from departments in Henry County responded. Anderson said he saw fire apparatus from Collinsville, Dyers Store, Ridgeway and Fieldale fire departments in Henry County, and he didn’t know if there were personnel from other fire departments in Henry County as well.

No firefighters were injured, he said.

Fire personnel contacted owners of adjoining properties so they could come and move vehicles and significant equipment and merchandise away from the Rives.

Anderson said the building, at 215 E. Church St., was built in 1928 and has about 10,000 square feet of space.

He described it as a one-story building with a significant attic. Exterior construction is brick and mortar.

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Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.

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