Friday, July 29, 2011

Cause of Bellevue fire undetermined

Blaze started in residence’s woodshed


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

A house fire that burned in Bellevue midday on Monday appears to have started in a woodshed on the property at 120 N. Fourth St.

No injuries were reported in the blaze, but one building was destroyed and a home next door was partially damaged by the flames.

"After a thorough investigation, the cause of the fire is undetermined," said Bellevue Fire Chief Greg Beaver.

Beaver said that with help from investigators from the State Fire Marshal's Office in Boise, the location of the fire's origin was determined to be on a dirt-floor woodshed on the southwest side of the house that was destroyed.

Beaver said there had been electrical wiring in the woodshed and that it had not been repaired or altered since 1995.

"There were not enough issues pointing to whether or not it was caused by electrical wiring," Beaver said.

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He said efforts to douse the blaze could have wiped out evidence pointing to the cause of the fire.

"With a dirt floor and thousands of gallons of water in there, firefighters are pretty hard on evidence. Our job is to save people and put the fire out," he said.

State Fire Marshal Mark Larson said insurance investigators could hire investigators of their own to continue the investigation.

"The description 'undetermined' is not unusual for a fire investigation early on," Larson said.

The Fire Department kept staff overnight at the scene Monday night to ensure that no smolder could reignite.

Firefighter Skylar Vollmer said Monday that with fall firewood harvesting around the corner, homeowners should think carefully about where to store the wood for winter. In this case, it was beneath a deck and staircase, and, while convenient, was an obstacle to firefighters battling the blaze.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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