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call the Shiawassee County Central Detective Bureau at
Byron — Late Wednesday afternoon, the Michigan State Police (MSP) officially declared the cause of the downtown Byron fire is arson. The remains of the historical building that housed Tower Hardware and Janelle’s Family Restaurant has turned into a crime scene.
“We are in the process of securing evidence,” said Det. Lt. David Kirk, with the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Department, which is heading up the investigation. Kirk will oversee the officers in charge of the investigation. Several news agencies have reported that state police investigators, with the assistance of a K9 unit, found fire accelerants among the debris and believe the fire was started in the empty upstairs apartment.
Detectives had already been canvassing the neighborhood to figure out who was home at the time of the early morning fire on Monday, said Kirk, and now the criminal investigation is officially open.
On Thursday, almost the entire historical block was closed off with orange safety fence, and the windows have been boarded up. Plywood barricades block access to any of the charred debris.
A sign on the building offers up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of anyone on arson-related charges. Kirk said the sheriff’s department also is offering up to $1,000 for helpful information.
Also closed off was New Image Hair/Tanning Salon. On Bath Street, a fire restoration crew waited Thursday to gain access to the building. “It’s bad in there,” said Phil (last name withheld). Phil’s crew planned to salvage anything they could from the salon. “It’s pretty burnt up in there. We want to get as much out as we can.”
Phil said smoke and water did the most damage to the salon, the building closest to the fire.
Outside the destroyed storefronts, a passerby was heard saying, “It’s like downtown Linden all over again.”