Theresa Davis hosts the weekly Java Monkey Speaks poetry open mic at the Decatur coffee house, (Photo by Collin Kelley)

A Nov. 13 Facebook post by the owner of Java Monkey Coffee House suggests there might be criminal intent behind the fire that destroyed the downtown Decatur mainstay and damaged neighboring businesses on Nov. 11.

The Facebook post reads: We would like to thank everyone for their kind words during this period and a special thank you to the people who have come forward with information which has been handed on to the police etc. and we will keep you up to date with the investigation as it progresses . The police, fire and ATF are looking in to certain things at the moment and if this is confirmed we will release details through Right now our main concern is getting our neighbors who had far less damage back up and running as quickly as possible while we look at how to rebuild Java Monkey.

According to Decaturish, fire officials have not confirmed whether the fire was intentionally started, but investigators are receiving assistance from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Witnesses said the fire broke out after 11 p.m., about an hour after the popular Java Monkey Speaks poetry open mic had ended for the night. Flames were visible at the roof and front door of the shop. Neighboring Church Street businesses Tres Jolie, Noodle and Fresh to Order all received smoke and water damage.

While the investigation and cleanup continues, the fire will not stop Java Monkey Speaks, according to host Theresa Davis. A fixture every Sunday night at the coffee house for 17 years, the open mic will take up residence at 7 Stages at 1105 Euclid Ave. in Little Five Points beginning on Sunday, Nov. 18. Sign up will start at 7:30 p.m. and the readings at 8 p.m.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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