TEMPLE — A downtown building burned Wednesday morning, and fire investigators said it was started by a heat source next to bedding left by homeless people, a Temple Fire & Rescue news release said.
The fire, which started in the foyer in the 10 block of South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive before spreading into the attic, was ruled unintentional.
A fire wall stopped the fire from traveling throughout the property, the release said.
Fire investigators found evidence people were staying in the building, which had no electricity and has been vacant for two years.
The fire call came in at 9:09 a.m.
The first firefighters saw heavy smoke and flames coming from the front of the brick building. Some firefighters searched for occupants while other fire crews started attacking the fire inside. Once firefighters were sure no one else was in the building, all crews were pulled outside to bring the fire under control with an exterior attack, the news release stated.
A 45-year-old Temple man was arrested on a trespassing charge, Temple Police Cpl. Christopher Wilcox said. The man reportedly cut his hand after he forced his way out of a window in the back of the structure. The building belongs to the Family Life Church and was being used for storage. Church representatives were unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon.
The building was originally the location of Kuykendall Motor Co., a car dealership.
Twenty-eight Temple firefighters battled the blaze, according to Temple Fire & Rescue.
Traffic control units from the Temple Police Department closed off several blocks next to the building while the firefighters worked to contain the fire. Scott & White EMS crews and the Temple Community Emergency Response Team provided rehabilitation for the firefighters.
The fire was under control at 10:31 a.m. and the last truck left the scene at 1:14 p.m., according to Temple Fire & Rescue.