Collapse of walls is the biggest concern as fire at Blue Bird facility still smolders

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*The fire at the Blue Bird fruit storage facility in Peshastin continues to smolder and occasionally flare up, five days after multiple fire crews battled huge flames shooting from the building.

Chelan County Fire District 6 Chief Phil Mosher said the concern now is walls collapsing inside the building.

“We are not putting water on it. We are just letting things burn out,” Mosher said. “One of the hazards is those walls are now free-standing, so we’ve got things blocked off – we have a county road blocked off just in case one of those walls decides to go”

He said most combustible materials in the building have “taken care of themselves” but there remains a receiver with ammonia that could cause problems if the walls collapse.

“There is a chance if we have some kind of collapse that ammonia may come out of that receiver. We would do a shelter in place until that dissipates,” Mosher said. “Right now, we’re just going to plan on getting that out of there on Tuesday.”

The cause of the Sunday evening fire remains under investigation. Moser said insurance investigators will arrive Monday and join the investigative effort. Also on Monday, a dog will be brought in to sniff for accelerants. The presence of those might indicate the fire was human-caused.

“Human-caused in always on the table until you rule it out,” Mosher said.

He said they have identified a point of origin for the fire and need to be able to pull all the materials out as part of the investigation.