Fire destroys much of historical collection in Indiana

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) – The Bartholomew County Historical Society estimates it lost as many as 75,000 items in a fire that destroyed the United Way building in Columbus.

Historical society director Julie Hughes called the fire a “devastating blow” as the group might have lost up to 80 percent of its collection in Dec. 24 blaze.

The feared losses include memorabilia from local companies such as Arvin Industries and several quilts and other items that dated to the county’s pioneer families. Hughes says all the society’s photographs and most of its correspondence survived as they were stored at its downtown museum.

Investigators haven’t yet determined the fire’s cause, although city Fire Department spokesman Matt Noblitt says foul play is not suspected.

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Information from: The Republic, http://www.therepublic.com/

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AP-CS-12-28-09 1007EST