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Fire

A fire damaged the parking garage in Auburn May 18.

Repairs on Auburn's Lincoln Street parking garage following a fire last month won't be made until the investigation of the incident is finished, and that could take at least two more weeks.

A utility vehicle fire in a maintenance area damaged a small area of the structure on May 18 and forced the temporary closure of its upper levels, but those areas were reopened days later.

Auburn City Manager Jeff Dygert said Thursday the fire investigation has to be completed before repairs can be made to make sure no one is "disturbing evidence" before the investigation is finished. The cause of the fire is still being investigated but it does not appear to be suspicious, he said.

Dygert said investigators for several parties — including the Auburn Fire Department, involved insurance companies and equipment companies — are set to meet "the third week of June" to dive into the incident's cause. He said a major part of the investigation is determining which party would be responsible for paying damages.

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"There are a lot of people that are potentially involved from a liability standpoint, so we have to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to take part in this investigation so we can see what's going on," Dygert said.

Once the investigation is finished, he said, work can move forward on an in-depth look at what needs to be done for repairs and conducting a full inventory of all of the items that were stored in the maintenance area, as most of that equipment was damaged or destroyed by the blaze. He said work with an insurance company is being done to get that equipment replaced.

A handful of parking spots directly above the spot where the fire took place are not available, Dygert said. He added that the city hopes to have the building's automation systems fixed in a few days so tickets can be again dispensed, as the building has had free parking since the incident.

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Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or kelly.rocheleau@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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