It’s too soon to know the future of the large metal building that housed Janie Clements Industries after a fire early Tuesday morning heavily damaged the building’s interior, Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston said.
    Preston had not determined the cause of the fire, which began around 4 a.m., as of late Tuesday afternoon. The building, at 3401 Milam in Brownwood, is still standing, and the exterior shows little effects of the fire. But the cavernous interior is blackened and gutted, all its contents ruined. There is nothing suspicious about the fire, Preston said.
    Janie Clements Industries is a program operated by the Center for Life Resources and has contracts with vendors. Dion White, the center’s chief executive officer, described the program as a “day habilitation” for about 70 clients who get paid to perform tasks including packaging, assembly and document destruction. The program has about 10 staff members, White said.
    The goal is to find an alternate location so Janie Clements Industries clients can get back to work, White said.
    “We have a couple of leads in town,” he said. “We hope to be up and running in a temporary location.”
    Preston said a newspaper delivery person called in the fire after seeing smoke. Firefighters went inside but couldn’t find the fire because of the heavy smoke, Preston said. Firefighters backed out, entered through a different door and found the fire.
    “It’s going to be a substantial loss,” Preston said.
    Preston believed the fire started on a mezzanine area above a closet. The mezzanine area was used for storage for a variety of items including Christmas decorations, Preston said.
    White said he arrived around 4 a.m. to see “smoke — just a lot of, lot of, lot of smoke from everywhere. My heart sank for a moment and then I realized everything’s going to be OK because at the end of the day, everyone’s safe. We just have a little hiccup right here with this.”
    The location may change, but the services won’t, White said. “The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of their life, and that will never change,” he said.
    “We’ll get through this. It’s kind of rough, seeing the building in the state that it’s in but we’ll get through it.”
    White said he appreciated the jobs the fire and police departments did at the fire.