Cause of historic Palouse building fire unknown

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 10 at 1:00 PM

PALOUSE, Wash. -- Fire officials said Thursday they were still not sure what caused a fire that destroyed the Brick Wall Bar & Grill in Downtown Palouse Tuesday morning, the same day the business was set for its official grand opening.

According to the Palouse Fire Department, the fire scene investigation conducted by an insurance company and ATF investigators concluded Wednesday afternoon.  The cause of the fire was classified as “undetermined.”

MORE: Flames destroy historic Palouse building as new business opens

Fire started about 4:00 a.m. Tuesday in the building that housed the Brick Wall Bar & Grill on E. Main St., formerly known as the Palouse Tavern. KREM 2 News was told the owners of the restaurant had put in months of hard work preparing for its grand opening. While the restaurant was new, the building itself was more than 100-years-old.

PFD firefighters remained on scene Wednesday to watch for flare-ups in the debris and to protect the scene until the investigation could be completed. Units finally cleared the area around 7:00 p.m.

Authorities also said the insurance company provided a private security officer to protect the scene Wednesday night. Fencing was expected to be put in place to secure the scene Thursday.

An engineer was scheduled to check the building immediately to the west of the destroyed bar for structural integrity Thursday morning. Very little water, heat, or smoke damage was done to the building, firefighters said, but there was concern over the stability of the wall that was shared with the 100-year-old structure that housed Brick Wall Bar & Grill.

Investigators said very little damage of any kind was done to the remaining buildings on the block and the occupants had been allowed to return.

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