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  Aardman Fire Investigation

"The October 10 fire which destroyed the archive of Wallace & Gromit creator Aardman Animations was caused by an electrical fault and not arson, investigators said Friday.

"Despite the devastation we saw that day, the investigation has been able to pinpoint the fire to an office on the ground floor of the building," Bill Feeley, assistant chief fire officer for Avon Fire and Rescue, said at a press conference at Temple fire station in Bristol, England.

"The cause of the fire was an electrical fault with an appliance. Arson has been ruled out."

The blaze began in a ground-floor office of Aardman's Victorian warehouse in Bristol. The "entire history" of the company, including hundreds of sets, props, models and awards from the company's animated clay films were destroyed in the fire. Among these were sets from short films A Grand Day Out (1990), The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1993), which introduced eccentric inventor Wallace and his dog Gromit.

Also lost in the fire were models of TV favorite Morph (star of The Amazing Adventures of Morph), along with memorabilia from feature film Chicken Run and TV series Creature Comforts.

Not affected were sets and props from Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the pair's first feature film.

Either a camera monitor or a water heater started the fire, Feeley said, adding that investigators were unable to conclude which of the two was the cause.

"There is no doubt in my mind that if the building had been fitted with a properly working sprinkler system, it would have confined any fire to a small one and would have prevented the devastation we saw on that day," he continued.

The warehouse contained a collection built up over 30 years. It took several days for firefighters to dampen down the remains of the building.

The investigation into the blaze lasted two months."

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