After several weeks of investigation, the Siskiyou County Arson Team was unable to officially determine the cause of a Jan. 3 fire that destroyed the historic Vanderbilt estate on Stewart Springs Road.

Rick Hood, Fire Prevention Battalion Chief with the CAL FIRE Siskiyou Unit, said there was no criminal intent, and it is  suspected the blaze may have been caused by a wood furnace in the garage, which was operating at the time.

Hood said the fire was ignited in the attic above the garage, in the general location of the furnace. However, because there were also electrical cords running through the area, the Arson Team was unable to positively confirm the fire’s exact source.

Sometimes, insurance companies conduct an investigation of their own, Hood said. Engineering tests, which are time consuming and costly, may be able to pinpoint the source, but this isn’t something that the local Arson Team does.

“The Arson Team’s basic goal is to determine whether there was any criminal intent,” Hood said. After it was determined there was none, the investigation was put to rest.