LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. -- Investigators have determined a fire that devastated a Lehigh Acres warehouse Sunday started accidentally with exposed wires.
Fire officials were glued to the scene for days, and after battling the stubborn fire and concerns over hazardous materials, they were finally able to dig inside for the cause.
"Basically the wires were stretched. The insulation then tore and exposed live electrical lines, which then sparked inside the warehouse," says Dale Reisen, a Lee County arson investigator.
Reisen says they are unsure how the wires broke, but says it's likely the fire smoldered for a long time before feeding on the combustibles inside.
"They've got paper products and plastics," Reisen says.
Officials estimate it will cost about $3 million to clean up the property, replace the destroyed 33,000-square-foot building, and restock the supplies inside.
But Stan's Coffee, the company that owns the warehouse, says that isn't stopping it from picking up the pieces.
"We got a lot of heart -- a lot of push. There has never been a thought not to rebuild," says Matthew Smith, Vice President of the company.
Smith says it could take up to a year to rebuild the structure, but until then, they plan to lease another warehouse in Gateway so they can continue business.
They expect insurance to help out as well, but don't know yet how much they will be able to recover.
Despite a total loss, Smith says the company is ready to rebuild from the ground up.
"We have great salespeople, a great team of employees, and we're here for the long-haul," says Smith.