Suspicious Fire Delays Murder Trial

August 1, 2008 11:31:56 AM PDT
A large fire overnight destroyed an office building in Madera. The fire started around 11-pm, at a building on Yosemite and "I" Streets in Madera. It was home to an accountant's office, a court mediator and several local attorneys.Fire investigators are now calling the fire "suspicious."

The Madera District Attorney's office said five prominent attorneys had their offices at the Pepper Tree office complex. One of them, was set to go to court on Monday for a high profile murder trial. Now, the D.A.'s office says that case may get delayed.

By the time firefighters got to the office complex Thursday night, the building was completely engulfed in flames. Attorney Richard Lima said the only thing he could salvage from his office was his law firm's sign.

Richard Lima said, "The work is unimaginable. I mean, I have two court appearances this morning and I have to go in this morning and try and carry on business as usual. Obviously, I'm not going to have my files with me."

Attorney John Garvin lost his office in the fire. He was seen looking over the damage. Garvin is representing 19-year old Dustin Gran, accused of murdering Madera teen Krista Pike back in January. The Madera District Attorney said the fire will cause delays in the case.

Ernie LiCalsi, Madera District Attorney said, "We're definitely going to have continuances. I imagine we're going to have a continuance for our murder preliminary hearing which is scheduled for Monday."

It took several hours for the 23 firefighters to put out the fire. Fire officials believe there is more than $2-million dollars in damages.

In the morning, investigators dug through the rubble in the back of the building where they believe the fire started. Captain Paul Alvarez with CAL-FIRE said, "No injuries were reported at the time of the fire and nobody was reported in the building at the time."

As fire investigators try to find out what started the fire, attorney Richard Lima said it's now time to try and rebuild cases where they left off. "I'm just thinking about all the work I'm going to have to do to rebuild all my files and my equipment and then my employees, also."



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