Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office is looking at arson as the possible cause of a July fire that damaged a former photo studio on the Billings West End.
Investigators identified a group of juveniles who were involved in the July 22 incident at the former Cetrone photo studio at 4028 Central Ave. The fire was human caused, but it is still unclear whether it was intentionally set, said Sheriff Mike Linder.
Linder said the building did not have gas or electric service at the time of the fire and was not supposed to be occupied. Investigators are finalizing paperwork before the case is sent to Yellowstone County’s Attorney to review for possible charges.
According to Gazette archives, the building was built in 1920 and was once home to Shiloh School. An earlier schoolhouse also sits on the property.
A news release from Billings Assistant Fire Marshall Bill Tatum said the fire caused extensive damage throughout the structure, and its roof collapsed. Initial estimates placed the fire’s damage at $250,000. The building and its contents were uninsured.
Investigators determined people were inside the building when the fire started, but no injuries were reported.