The fire that destroyed a Blue Bird storage facility in Peshastin on March 3, started outside the building, Bob Plumb, the Chelan County Fire Marshal, said in a press release Wednesday.
He said through investigation and interviews of eyewitnesses, the fire’s origin was traced to an area where pallets of cardboard and other combustible materials were stored under an awning. They may have been ignited by a light but investigators still have not ruled out the possibility of arson, he said.
Destroyed inside the 36,000-square-foot building were 250,000 boxes of packed pears worth about $9 million, The building itself is valued at about $8 million.
Investigators included the Chelan County Department of Fire Prevention and Investigations, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office and insurance officials.
The building, which continues to smolder with occasional flame flare-ups, will be torn down in the next two weeks with the nearby county road remaining closed as it is used to remove rubble from the area.
Plumb said the north wall of the building is unstable and the public is advised to stay away due to the possibility of collapse.